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7 Super-Scary Break-In Stories from Urban Legends
This doesn’t mean that urban legends are pure fiction. What it would mean is that the stories come along first -- and then, the actions come. The newspapers are the last to know.
The famed philosopher Aristotle, whose writings form the cornerstone of modern science and reason, said that very few people can be persuaded to see things in a new light by arguments from reason; the way to win new converts, new disciples, new true believers to your own views is through an appeal to their emotions. Urban legends surely play upon our emotions as well as our imaginations.
Whatever historical, fact-based reality lies behind any urban legend, one thing is clear: people tell and perpetuate these stories because in them they find powerful emotions and compelling stories that they feel the urgent need to express to others. And they always have this underlying theme: “It could be you.”
To those who enjoy scary stories, the seven urban legends below may provide some fun entertainment, but they can be graphic and are NOT for the squeamish.
GPS Guided Break-In. Now, this one is usually related as a FOAF tale (“friend-of-a-friend” relating third-hand news).
Thieves break into the empty vehicle of someone who is at a football game, which has just started. Inside, they find a GPS locator device mounted to the dashboard. Using the GPS, they guide the vehicle back to the home of its owners. When the owners of the stolen vehicle eventually get back home, they find their house has been broken into and totally ransacked, nearly everything of significant value stolen. The thieves knew that they could take their time because the owners were going to be at the football game for hours before even realizing that their vehicle had been stolen -- and when they did find out, they would need to spend more time finding a ride.
This one has certain flaws. For one thing, thieves don’t prefer high-tech solutions to burglaries. The idea that they would have thought to use the GPS to get to the people’s house doesn’t ring true, as they were probably just trying to see what they could quickly steal from the vehicle’s interior. Next there’s the issue of how they could have known that the house would actually be unoccupied when they got there -- somebody else might have been home, etc. Then there’s the whole FOAF element.
Nevertheless, there’s some real possibility of this one becoming reality.
The Strangers Backstory. The movie The Strangers is one of the scariest thrillers you’ll ever see. A young couple staying at a family vacation home gets randomly terrorized by three masked, mysterious strangers who at one point tell them, offhandedly, that they are the chosen victims only “because you were home”. The Strangers was marketed as “inspired by true events”, although critics and researchers since its 2008 release have called that billing into question. Writer and director Bryan Bertino, however, says that the original backstory went something like this:
A young man living in a suburban neighborhood answers a knock upon his door one night. He answers it to see a strange woman who politely asks him if “such-and-such lives here”. He tells her “no”, and she thanks him and leaves. The next day he discovers that every house on his street has been broken into. (Some details of some of the Manson killings also made their way into the film.)
The woman was apparently a scout just seeing if people were home or awake. These types of people really do come around. Beware.
The Babysitter on the Telephone. A teenage girl comes to a home of people she knows to babysit for a long evening. She puts the two small children to bed at 8PM and goes downstairs to watch movies on television, confident that the kids are old enough to get out of bed and come calling if they need anything. Soon after this, the telephone rings and, seeing that it’s a local number, she answers it. A mysterious, creepy male voice asks her if she’s a fit babysitter. She hangs up but he keeps on calling back asking ever more intimate questions (eventually inquiring if she has panties on), finally asking her if the children are safe. She decides to call the police, and they tell her they will trace the call and call her back. Two minutes later, they call her and tell her that the call is coming from upstairs in the house -- they have officers coming. They arrive a moment later but when they go upstairs it’s too late -- the children have been brutally murdered in their beds.
Home security systems with monitoring stations and awareness go hand in hand. Of course, the whole “the call is coming from inside the house!” meme is terrifying, but silly and at best, extraordinarily unlikely. It’s merely a plot twist that helps build suspense for the audience.
The Clown Doll. A babysitter watching over two small children calls the father’s cell phone and asks him permission to put a cover over a very creepy-looking clown doll sitting in the corner of of the living room. He urgently tells her to get the children, get out of the house, and go to the neighbor’s house. She does this and then calls him back. He explains that they don’t have any clown doll. The children have been talking about an “evil clown” watching them in their sleep, but the parents chalked it up to nightmares. They have also been noticing that food seems to go missing. The police are called but when they come to the house, the clown doll is gone.
A little person had been living in the house because that makes total sense. Who knows for how long? Once again, home security systems and awareness are useful.
Choking Dog. A husband and wife have been out to a tavern and come home to find their large dog choking. He’s alive but barely able to breathe. They have a good friend who’s a veterinarian, so they call him and he agrees that they can bring the dog over for him to look at. After dropping off the dog, the couple goes back home and gets into bed. A few minutes later the telephone rings. It’s the vet, and he’s hysterically yelling at them to get out of the house. As they are heading out their front door, the police show up and go through the house. In an upstairs closet, they find a hooded intruder with a bloody hand -- and, a missing finger.
Big, ferocious dogs are great for security -- but they can’t stop everything.
Humans Can Lick, Too. A husband and wife who run their own small business together from a rustic home have a beautiful 15-year-old daughter. They decide that she can be trusted alone in the house for a short period, especially since they also have a big dog. On a Friday afternoon they tell the daughter that they must go on an overnight trip for business and will be back sometime on Saturday. Before going to bed, she is to lock up the whole house -- and that includes the basement window. Then, they depart. 9 PM comes and the daughter goes around locking up the house. She goes to the basement to lock up the window but it is stuck. It just won’t go down all the way. Rather than risk breaking the window, she leaves it a little bit open, but she puts a padlock on the basement door. By 11 PM she’s in bed with the dog lying by her side, on the floor. At midnight she suddenly wakes up, but doesn’t know why. She hears nothing. She reaches down her hand and lets the dog lick it for reassurance, then drifts back off into sleep. At 2:30 AM she again wakes up suddenly, and this time hears a “drip, drip, drip” coming from the direction of the bathroom. Annoyed, she concludes that there’s a leak in the pipes -- she will have to tell her father when he gets home. She reaches down her hand, lets it get licked, and then drifts back off to sleep. She wakes up suddenly at 4:30 AM to the same dripping sound, now completely annoyed that this leaky pipe must be the cause of her disrupted sleep. She reaches down and lets the dog lick her hand for reassurance, then goes back to sleep. 6:30 comes and finally dawn is breaking. The girl decides to get up, and she goes into the bathroom to discover the skinned, eviscerated dog hanging in the shower. The “drip, drip” sound is the dead dog’s blood dripping into the tub. She screams and runs back to her bedroom where, on the floor written in blood, it says: “Humans can lick, too, beautiful one.”
If only they’d had custom windows and doors put in…
The Terrified Burglar. A thief who has been scouting out a house for a few days concludes that the opportunistic time has come. He breaks into an empty house through an unlatched window -- ah, sweet success! He starts groping around in the darkness, looking for good stuff to steal, when he stumbles over something on the kitchen floor. Daring to turn on his flashlight, he sees the house’s husband and wife owners -- brutally murdered! He runs out of the house shrieking, and calls the police from his cell phone to report the crime.
This final one is a surprising one, not to mention ironic. But moral of the story? Don’t be the house that a thief -- or a psychopathic murderer -- finds worthy of his time and attention.
Kiersten Gurry is a freelance writer in Flagstaff, Arizona. She writes on a wide variety of topics in the home improvement industry specializing in ornamental artwork. In her spare time she writes for First Impression Security Doors.