10 Urban Legends That Turned Out To Be True

Sometimes truth is more terrifying than fiction.


Everyone loves a good urban legend, tales about weird creatures that shouldn't exist, murders straight out of a horror movies and other unexplained phenomena.

Many of these tales are terrifying, yet we laugh them off when we reach a certain age and dismiss them as pure hogwash. In some cases, that isn't strictly the case.

Although we can write off Bloody Mary, Walt Disney's cryogenic freezing and claims that the Great Wall of China is visible from space as pure fiction, other folklore is much tougher to discredit, especially when there's compelling evidence in its favour.

The most unsettling campfire tales are those which end with the words 'and it's all completely true', and in select instances the storyteller has evidence to prove it. Every now and then, an urban legend turns out to be based on reality.

From dead bodies under the bed, to an Atari cartridge graveyard in the New Mexico desert, these are the urban legends with more than a nugget of truth to them.

10. Premature Burial


The legend: Like Ryan Reynolds in the aptly-titled movie Buried, a number of people have been committed to their eternal rest prematurely. Scratch marks and other signs of desperate escape bids have been found inside exhumed coffins, suggesting some poor sods suffered the nightmare of being buried alive.

The truth: Not only has this happened, it used to occur on a frighteningly regular basis. In the 19th Century, Dr. William Tebb conducted a study into premature burial and discovered 149 instances of it, as well as 219 cases of near-premature burial and a handful where dissection or embalming was attempted before death.

Although this sounds shocking, it's important to note that health care obviously wasn't what it is today back in the 1800s. Methods to establish death were barely more scientific than shaking the patient really hard to see if they woke up.

Surely such a thing as premature burial could never happen in the modern age? Well, that's almost true. There are many recorded cases of people waking up in metal boxes in mortuaries. According to news reports, this is what happened to Sipho William Mdletshe after he was involved in a traffic collision in Johannesburg.

Sipho is said to have spent two days in storage at the mortuary before hospital staff heard his cries for help.


Been prattling on about gaming, movies, TV, football and technology across the web for as long as I can remember. Find me on Twitter @MarkLangshaw