Three creepy stories to keep you up at night
‘Tis the season to be scary!
While there are tons of spooky legends and online user-generated “creepypasta,” nothing raises the hair on your skin like actual mysterious and very well-documented stories that made the rounds in media at some point in time.
So, in the spirit of Halloween, I’ll highlight three mysterious and spooky cases that really happened. While creepy storytelling is certainly an art, sometimes the creepiest stories aren’t made-up at all…
The missing Sodder children: In Christmas of 1945, in the small town of Fayetteville, West Virginia, the house of George and Jennie Sodder burst into flames in the middle of the night. They were Italian immigrants who had five of their children in the house: Maurice, 14; Martha, 12; Louis, 9; Jennie, 8; and Betty, 5.
The couple escaped and as George went to save his children, he quickly realized that several things were wrong: the ladder he kept by the house was missing, the phone line was cut, the engine of his coal truck wouldn’t start and his neighbors’ homes couldn’t connect to operators.
Hours later, in the light of the day, no traces of the children could be found. Not even remnants of their bones or bodies. It was as if they simply disappeared.
Despite intensive search efforts, the odd activity continued when some of the private detectives the Sodders hired went missing. They then received a strange photo in the mail of an unidentified young man that was inscribed with: “Louis Sodder. I love brother Frankie. Ilil boys. A90132 or 35.”
It was speculated that the entire debacle was a hit by the Sicilian mafia due to anti-Mussolini comments George had made while in town, but it was never proven. In the end, the Sodders died without ever knowing what happened to their children.
The chilling case of Elisa Lam: Elisa Lam was a 21-year-old Chinese Canadian woman visiting Los Angeles in Jan. 2013. She was staying in the infamous Cecil Hotel in downtown L.A., which had a dark and storied history with a reputation for being haunted.
On Jan. 31, Elisa went missing. After her disappearance made local news, the national public’s interest was ignited when L.A.P.D. released bizarre security camera footage of Elisa on the day she disappeared.
The footage showed Elisa behaving strangely and talking to an unseen person outside of one of the hotel’s elevators. She also repeatedly entered and exited the elevator, appearing to hide after randomly pressing all the buttons of the elevator.
The footage quickly went viral as crime-lovers, paranormal enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists analyzed it on YouTube.
Weeks later, after complaints from guests at the Cecil Hotel that the water tasted strange and looked dark, workers went to inspect the water towers on top of the hotel. And inside one of the tanks, they found Elisa’s body floating.
Her phone was never found, and no explanation was given for how she reached the tank. The doors and stairs could only be accessed by hotel personnel and access to the inside of the tank would’ve been difficult for one person: they were protected by heavy lids with no ladder access to reach inside.
While authorities declared her death to have been an accidental drowning due to bipolar disorder, many disagree. As far as naysayers are concerned, the case remains unsolved.
The Dyatlov Pass incident: On the 1-2 of Feb. 1959, nine hikers trekked through the Ural Mountains in the former Soviet Union. Highly experienced, the group set camp in the snowy area of Kholat Syakhl.
Igor Dyatlov, the group’s leader, was expected to send a telegram to their sports club, but after 12 days passed and no message was received, a search party went to investigate.
There, the searchers found the trekkers’ half-torn tent in the middle of the snow. It’d been ripped from the inside. The hikers’ belongings and shoes were found inside with no sign of the hikers. They soon followed footprints in the snow and when the footprints disappeared, they went to the forest’s edge.
There, they found two of the hikers’ bodies under a tree. They were shoeless and dressed only in their underwear. Then, they found three more of the hikers’ bodies in separate gaps between the forest and the tent.
The rest of the bodies took over two months to recover and they were found in various states of ripped dress that indicated that the ones who’d lived longer had taken the clothes of the ones who died first.
Medical examinations revealed that one hiker had a crack in his skull, while three of the other hikers had severe skull damage and chest fractures that would’ve been comparable to the force of a car accident.
But the most disturbing injuries were found on Lyudmila Dubinina whose eyes, tongue, and parts of her lips and facial tissue were missing.
Six of the deaths were attributed to hypothermia, while the others were declared due to fatal injuries. However, until this day, no explanation for what caused them to leave their tent has been firmly decided on by authorities. The speculation continues even today…