Monday, August 30, 2010

The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends #2 by

The Funhouse Mummy

The Myth:
A prop at a carnival was discovered not to be made of the usual combination of papier mache and carni spit, but human skin and bone. All the little kiddies at the haunted house had been poking and giggling at a real, mummified dead body.
The Truth:
Apparently the smell wasn’t just coming from the convict manning the corndog stand. Back in 1976, a camera crew filming an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man began to set up in the haunted house at the Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, Calif.

As they were moving aside a "hanging man" prop, they accidentally knocked off its arm and discovered human bones inside. Bionic, this poor sap wasn’t.
The story gets stranger. The body was actually that of criminal mastermind Elmer McCurdy, who was killed in a shootout after robbing a train in 1911. The princely sum old Elmer got killed for? $46 (and two jugs of whiskey).
McCurdy was embalmed by the local undertaker, and apparently the guy was so darn pleased with his work that he propped up the corpse in the funeral home as evidence of his skills. People were charged 5 cents to see the corpse, which they paid by dropping a nickel in the cadaver’s mouth. Remember that little bit of history the next time somebody turns their nose up at you for liking Hostel 2.
Think it can’t get any stranger? Oh, you naïve fool. After several years of raking in the nickels (how exactly these coins were retrieved after being dropped into the corpse’s mouth is something probably best left to the imagination) our enterprising undertaker’s scheme was ruined when McCurdy's brothers showed up to claim him. Of course, these guys weren’t his brothers at all, but wily carnival promoters. From that point on, McCurdy’s mummy went on a morbid mystery tour all around America, popping up at carnivals all over the country before finally coming to rest in Long Beach.

McCurdy is now buried in Oklahoma. Because McCurdy apparently had the most entertaining corpse in history, they prevented anyone else from taking him on tour by dumping concrete on top of the casket.No, really.

The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends #1 by

The Dead Body Under Your Freaking Matress

The Legend:
A couple checks into a hotel and have to put up with a foul odor in their room all night. They call the staff to complain and somebody figures out the stench is coming from the bed.
Now, there's no way that scenario is going to have a good ending. You're almost hoping at that point that it'll turn out the last guest just got drunk and pooped behind the headboard. But, no, the staff take off the matress and discover the couple has been sleeping over the rotting body of a dead girl who had been stuffed in the box spring.
The Truth:
This actually happened, in Las Vegas. Also, Kansas City, MO and Atlantic City, NJ and several times in Florida and California and, well, let's just say that in or under the bed in a hotel room seems to be a fairly popular destination for the recently deceased.
It makes sense if you think about it. The closet and under the bed are the two most popular places to hide just about anything, so it's not surprising a hell of a lot of corpses end up there as well. In fact, the odds are pretty good that at least once a guy has killed a prostitute, tried to stuff her under the bed, only to find there was already a body there.

The strangest part isn't that the bodies wind up in such a terrible hiding place (killers often aren't the type to plan ahead). No, the strange thing is that in almost every story people will sleep part of, or in many cases, the entire night, on top of the corpse before reporting it.
Most people we know will complain if they detect that someone might have smoked a cigarette in their room four months ago. Not these people, they slept inches above an oozing heap of rotting human flesh rather than inconvenience the hotel management by asking for a new room.
Or, at least we hope sleeping is all they did on that bed. Oh, man, can you imagine dying and then the first thing that happens is some middle age couple starts porking over you? Ew.
Hopefully they at least got a free continental breakfast out of the ordeal.

Did you ever..

Did you ever see one of those videos where you are asked to look for, or follow, a specific thing through out the video? Then, at the end, they reveal that as you were watching, something large and intrusive moved around in plain sight and you never even noticed it. It’s frightening how often that happens, like how I just moved from the doorway into your room as you read this.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tourist trap

In rural Wisconsin, there is an old abandoned park. Built in the 1920s, it served as the town’s gathering place for everyone.
That is, until a newly developed Train and Tunnel for Tots™ ride was installed in 1932. It was an innocent looking childish train, with one main (mechanized) head car, with three small trolleys pulled behind it. It went around some loops before going into a small tunnel.
But this is where the story gets weird. There were numerous cases of child deaths that year, all of them happening after the child rode on that train system. Some kids went missing in that short tunnel (about ten feet), and others went comatose after leaving. One, upon exiting, was found to be dead. Her dress was covered in what looked like small bloody handprints. Some killed themselves by scratching at their throats until they bled out, and one of them even killed another child before hanging herself with razor wire at the family’s farm.
The park was closed, and the town’s popularity as a tourist town plummeted.
Recently, a team of scientists were sent out to the park. They taped a video camera to the train, and put a new intern in with it, before sending it on its way onto the tracks.
When the train left the tunnel, it was empty, except for the camera.
The last ten seconds were nothing but static, save for the sound of children laughing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I don't sleep anymore

Earlier this week, on Sunday night, I had a dream in which I knew I was asleep. I was stood outside of my house in torrential rain at night and thought I needed to get inside in order to wake up. I approached the front door and placed my knuckles onto the door-window ready to knock. I knew that my next action would bring me one step closer to consciousness. The moment I knocked on the door, the thudding sound of the knock was so loud, so frightening and so real that it woke me from my sleep.
I jumped up immediately and listened out for a further knock at the door. I was roasting hot, sweating profusely and my heart was beating so hard, I don’t think I would have been able to tell the difference between a knock at the door and my thudding heart beat. After I came to my senses and realised that the possibility of the door knocking at the exact moment of dreaming it is incredibly low, I fell back to sleep.
Monday, the very following night, I had the same dream. Right back outside the front of the house in the pouring rain again, intensely staring at the house. I slowly walked to the front door, this time it was open. I walked in and went straight into the kitchen. I opened the cutlery drawer and pulled out the largest meat knife I have. I looked into my reflection through the blade of the knife.
If you stare directly into the reflection of your eyes for long enough, eventually it will hit you that someone is looking at you. You know it’s your reflection, but for just a second, you forget and become self conscious, as if it’s somebody else behind your reflection’s eyes. It didn’t take a second of looking at my reflection through the blade to realise that somebody else was looking back. The moment I realised it was somebody else wearing my grin in the reflection, I slammed the cutlery drawer shut.
Again, I shot up out of bed. The sound of the metal clanging in the drawer as it abruptly closed was so defined and so crystal clear, it couldn’t have been a dream. Really spooked this time, I went downstairs into the kitchen. I was half asleep and had to check. I opened the cutlery drawer. I was relieved to find the knife still in the drawer. I closed it and went back to bed. It took a little longer this time, but I fell asleep.
Tuesday night, my dream started with that grin in the reflection. From the look in his eyes, I could tell that the man in the reflection knew he was looking back at someone confused and scared. I found myself looking into the reflection of the knife, already in my hand, while stood outside of my house in the rain. The front door was open again. I walked into the house, directly up the stairs and into my bedroom. I looked at the bed and saw someone sleeping in it. It was me.
I knew what I was going to do, but also knew that I couldn’t stop myself. Instead, I kept think over and over again “Wake up”. My emotions were both in two extremes at once. I was terrified, but at the same time I was thrilled and excited to kill. “WAKE UP!”
I shot right out of bed and stood up. I was absolutely drenched in sweat, roasting hot, but relieved to find nobody stood in front of me with a knife. It took a few seconds to realise that I was gripping something tight in my hand. I knew what it was even before I looked down at it and saw my reflection in it. It was the meat knife, and this time the reflection in it looked terrified.
I don’t sleep anymore.
A memory

When thinking back to my earliest memories, nothing is concrete. A string of hazy images come to mind like random snapshots out of time, each one associated with certain feelings and emotions. They are imbued with a mystical dreamlike quality, a gift born of childhood naivety. The magic of every Christmas when Santa was still real, for example, is an experience of pure joy that is lost with maturity.
Many of these snapshots are impossible to place in any sort of context. They’re just…there, sunken in the crevices of the brain without rhyme or reason: playing with my dad’s beard in a wood-paneled room, him smiling down at me – comforting. Or discovering a long row of marching ants in someone’s wooded backyard, all by myself – exciting. Some of them don’t even seem real in hindsight. Did I actually fall from that tree by the lake, only to land on my feet without a scratch? Was it really a dream?
I don’t think so. Sure, I have memories of distant dreams, but there is a clear distinction between the dreams and reality of my past. I don’t know how I can tell, I just can. And for this reason one memory has always troubled me. The experience was so surreal, and yet certain details stand out with marked clarity.
I’m not exactly sure when it happened. I couldn’t have been older than five or six. My brother and I were sleeping in our bunk bed. Because he was older, he got the top bunk. I had just woken up, but it was still nighttime. Something felt different. I remember seeing and smelling the rain, but not hearing any. The window was open and it was very cold in the room. Why was the window open? The curtains were gently flapping but there was no breeze. The quiet was so intense it buzzed through my ears. I’d been lying on my side, with one arm dangling off the edge of the bed. Gradually I became aware that it was warmer near the floor. I felt some kind of heated breeze gently strike my hand, coming and going in short bursts. Finally I recognized it as someone’s breathing.
Then the woman slid out from under my bed. The nightlight showed that she had long blondish hair and wore a white nightgown, and in the dimness I thought it was my mother. I wasn’t at all scared. It’s funny how a child’s mind works. [i]What’s mommy doing under the bed? Must be getting something, or checking for monsters.[/i] I was too tired to say anything and remained motionless, watching. The woman was on her back, but her face stayed in the shadows. She rolled over and crawled on all fours to the far end of the bed, then glided up the ladder to the top bunk. Her every movement was silky smooth and completely silent. She reminded me of a white ribbon dancing in the wind. I closed my eyes and fell back to sleep.
I also remember my brother telling me about a weird dream the next morning. He’d dreamt of a woman who lived “under the floor” and came out at night to play in the rain. When her clothes got soaked, she went back inside and would whisper things to anyone who was sleeping. It became a recurring dream for him until our family moved out of that house.
Strange, what the brain chooses to remember.

When rain comes

It begins gently at first, softly falling like a child’s tears.  It is a sad thing, but not so unusual and wholesome in its way.  And the wind lightly blows, almost tenderly caressing your face.  This will not last, but it’s nice isn’t it?
In the beginning there were two and they knew love of a kind.
The rain comes down harder now, no longer a child’s gentle weeping, and not quite an adult’s passionate cries for a lost love.  It is somewhere in between.  Then too, the wind picks up, catching your hair, causing it to fall across your face.  It speaks, in the way that wind speaks, a soft moan, nothing more yet.
Time passed, and the two brought forth children.  The children built and bred and grew.  Thousands, then millions.
The rain has not changed, it does not fall with greater intensity, but in the distance the faint sound of rolling thunder and the flash of a great light.  The voice of the wind calls out to it, the clouds gather more strongly.
The two were not man and woman, but that is close.  In the full distance of time, they grew apart and so their children suffered.  She was not happy with Him, but She would not leave Him.
The rain falls strongly now, if you were not wet before, you are now.  The wind’s moan has changed to a howl and the lightning grows closer.  The air is charged with possibility.
She loved them, but to Him they were a barrier, something that caused the coldness that had grown between them.  Perhaps that is why She said nothing when they drove Him out.
The storm is a storm in truth now, the rain stings a little as it falls, water dripping from your hair.  The wind’s howling pierces your clothing, finding any gap and driving itself through it, perhaps seeking your warmth.  You should find shelter, but something is about to happen.
Generation upon generation grew, lived, and died.  They forgot Her name and His.  She was still with them though and they still loved Her, in their way, but He, they lost entirely.  He watched from beyond, unable to touch Her.  Sometimes He lashed out at the skies.
The lightning is close now, illuminating the entire night sky, the thunder crackling within a minute or so of the lightning.  It should feel cold, shouldn’t it?  The wind is strong and the rain is fierce, but you are not cold.  There is an energy building.
A crack has formed in his millennia old prison.  He feels it and rages against it, throwing His might towards it.  The crack widens.
You stand there, silently staring at the raging heavens as lightning cracks open the vault of the sky.  The lines of light hang suspended in the air, after they should have ended.  Something is coming.
He feels freedom.  He goes to it; soon He will be with His bride once more.
He is coming.
He is angry.
The suicide king

Modern playing cards are filled with layers of meaning and symbology that can be traced back centuries. The four kings, for example, are based off of real rulers: the king of diamonds represents the wealthy Julius Caesar, the king of clubs is the brutal Alexander the Great, Spades represents the strong but kind David of Israel and Hearts represents the… emotionally disturbed, shall we say, Charles VII of France. It is this king that we will be dealing with today. It should also be noted that Charles was the only one of the four who was actually there to see the day that his face was printed on a playing card, which may rationalize why he acted apart from the others.
Charles’ visage was put on the king of hearts at the very beginning of his rule, but he never really got a chance to come into contact with playing cards until many years later when he became very ill with a fever and was informed that he would be bedridden for the rest of his life. It was during this period that Charles began learning card games to pass the time, such as an early version of black jack, “vingt-et-un” (twenty one).
Charles lay in his bed for two years, constantly fiddling with the cards and always getting weaker. As time continued to pass, there were reports that Charles had begun obsessing over the idea that the king being the thirteenth card in a suit was causing him bad luck. He talked about how he was starting to see the number pop up everywhere and that he was close to figuring out its secret. Of course, his ramblings were blamed on the fever, and by the end of the second year, he had been declared insane, and his son Louis XII took over the thrown.
One day, several months after the end of his reign, one of Charles’ physicians went to his chamber to find the frail old man standing in the middle of the room wielding a large sword. Before the doctor could react, the king said, “Ils m’ont montré la vérité de treize, et il n’est pas signifié pour les yeux mortels.” which roughly translates to, “They have shown me the truth of thirteen, and it is not meant for mortal eyes.” Without hesitation the king proceeded to ram the blade in through the left side of his head (between the ear and temple) until it came out the other side. He wavered a moment, before collapsing to the floor dead.
After the incident was announced and it was made public that the king had gone mad, the image of Charles on the king of hearts was altered to show himself offing himself. Although the picture is now shown significant-ly less graphically, the image of Charles thrusting the sword into his skull can still be found on modern day playing cards. Perhaps the strangest part of the whole story, however, is the day that Charles chose to kill himself: 7/6/1462. Whether or not it was intentional of the king, the facts that 6+7=13 and 1+4+6+2=13 can only be explained as coincidences.