If you’re in the mood to sleep with all the lights on at night, and hesitate before you pull over for police officers who may be murderers in disguise, then stay tuned. Below are 3 urban legends that actually happened in real life.
Candyman’s popularity exploded with the horror film of the same name, which tells the story of the vengeful specter of a freed slave who fell in love with a white woman and got her pregnant, only to be brutally murdered by her father and his accomplices. Now given over to a dark and terrible rage, Candyman will brutally attack anyone who is foolish enough to stare into a mirror in the dark and repeat his name over and over again.
Surely this is a myth, and being murdered by someone coming through your bathroom mirror is pure legend. Think again. In 1987, Ruthie Mae McCoy was home alone in her projects apartment when she made a terrifying 911 call.
Panicked, and in terror, McCoy told the dispatcher that her life was in danger by men emerging from her bathroom cabinet. The 911 dispatcher believed this to be a dispute with a neighbor and sent a police car, but given the low priority of the call, the car attended to other business before responding.
Then came more 911 calls from neighbors, saying that they were hearing shouting and gunshots. Two police cruisers were immediately dispatched, but when they arrived on the scene they found the front door to McCoy’s apartment locked. With no answer to their knocks, the police were hesitant to force their way in, fearing being sued if there was no disturbance. Thus, they left the scene.
The next day however, a woman who regularly had contact with Ms. McCoy called the police to let them know that she hadn’t seen her that day. Now with concern over her well being, the police broke into her home only to discover McCoy shot to death and laying in a pool of her own blood. Her apartment had been ransacked, and yet there was no sign of forced entry.
That’s when police decided to check the bathroom, and discovered the horrible truth a panicked McCoy had been trying to tell the 911 dispatcher. The bathroom cabinet had been knocked out of place, revealing an area of pipes behind it which had been used by McCoy’s attackers to move in between apartments unseen.
This was a design feature of the apartment building meant to make it easier for maintenance workers to service the building’s piping. Instead, it ended up being an avenue of attack that got Ms. McCoy killed. In fact, the crawlspace behind the bathroom cabinets of each apartment was widely used by thieves, who would utilize them to break into people’s homes or escape police.
Sadly, Ms. McCoy, whom the thieves probably didn’t expect to be home, would end up a victim of the hidden but not-so-secret crawlspace.
The Leaping Lawyer
There’s an old cliché about lawyers and bankers, finally at the end of their rope, leaping to their death from their high-rise offices. While these are two professions with high instances of suicide, the leaping to one’s death from a skyrise is extremely rare, and more urban legend than truth.
On a Toronto July day in 1993 though, the urban legend would become true in a terrifying and truly tragic way. Garry Hoy was a senior partner with the law firm of Holden, Day and Wilson. On the upward track, life was all peaches and cream for the 39 year old lawyer – or it would have been if it wasn’t for his propensity for a particularly dumb practical joke of his.
Garry was fond of scaring young law partners and new employees, and his favorite way of doing this was to run full speed into one of the high rise building’s ceiling to floor glass windows. These massive panes of glass are designed to withstand very high winds and strong impacts, and for the 99 times that Gary had pulled this little prank off, the window had always held.
Number 100 was the exception. As Gary ran full tilt into the window, the window held. Not satisfied with the reaction of the crowd of young articling students, Gary repeated his body check into the window. This time, the window gave. Falling from a height of 23 stories, Gary had seconds to consider his very stupid practical joke before pancaking on the street below.
Gary’s accidental death became so infamous, that it was an overnight urban legend, firmly rooted in a real event. Shows like Mythbusters and 1000 ways to die all retold the story of Gary’s tragic death, and he himself became the recipient of the 1996 Darwin Award. But how had a window that had withstood so many impacts simply given way that day?
Experts believe that on this attempt Gary hit the window with a leading edge of his body first, concentrating the impact force on a much smaller area than normal. This might have been with his wristwatch, as hypothesized on 1000 ways to die, but it could have been with any part of his body really.
With so much impact concentrated on such a small point, the glass would have much more easily shattered, sending Gary to his death on the street below.
Killer In The Backseat
An unassuming motorist is driving down a dark road when they’re attacked by a killer hiding in the backseat. In some variations other motorists try to warn the person by flashing their brights at them, each time flashing just as the killer rises up to strike the killing blow.
While that version of the urban legend is definitely false, and the legend as a whole has been around since the explosion of ‘car culture’ in America around the late 1950s, in at least one tragic incident, it was more fact than fiction.
In 2013, a young woman parked her van at a gas station and went inside to pay for some items. While she was gone, a man snuck inside her unlocked van and hid in the back rows. As she drove away from the station, the man made himself known and forced the woman to drive to the back of an alley where he assaulted her.
After that, he made her drive him to an ATM and forced her to withdraw cash before finally leaving her to flee into the night. When police reviewed the gas station’s surveillance cameras they found that the man had been trying car doors before running into the woman’s unlocked van and sliding inside.
While police never found the attacker, they warned that anytime you exit your vehicle you should always make sure you lock all of your doors. Because next time that you park somewhere and hop out for just a moment, it could be
you with a criminal lurking in your backseat.
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