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10 Horror Stories That Intersected With Real Life In Frightening Ways

by Gregory Myers
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Everyone loves a good horror movie. As long as we remember the difference between fantasy and reality, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally indulging in a slasher flick or two. And for those more sensitive to scares, they can always reassure themselves that none of it is actually real.

However, some people get so engrossed in horror movies that they decide they want their life to be like one. Other times, that story we thought was just for scares had more truth than we initially thought.

Featured image credit: Warner Brothers via YouTube

10The Strangers And The Director’s Childhood

Inside Charles Manson’s crazed cult | 60 Minutes Australia

When the horror movie The Strangers was released, it struck a particular chord with many people because it claimed to be based on a true story. In the movie, strange people come up to the door of a couple who are staying in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. After the bizarre encounter at the door, the couple starts to fear for their safety. Before long, several frightening people in masks have invaded their home and begin torturing them.

When the homeowners ask why they were chosen for this seemingly random torment, the strangers answer, “Because you were home.” This iconic tagline left many people particularly disturbed because the story was supposed to be based on true events, leaving some to wonder how true the story actually was.

According to the director of The Strangers, when he was a little kid, someone knocked on the door when he and his sister were home and asked for a person who did not live at the house. Later, he found out that the men knocking on doors had been looking for a vacant house to rob.

This got the future director thinking about what might have happened if they had decided to enter the house. He also claims to have received a fair amount of inspiration from some of the Manson murders. The combination of strange people knocking on doors and the murder of seemingly random people for bizarre motives left a powerful mark on his imagination and inspired a terrifying horror movie.

9Friday The 13th And The Boy Scout Camp

Return to Camp Crystal Lake – Friday the 13th making of

The original Friday the 13th didn’t yet feature the iconic killer we all know now, but it struck such a chord that it spawned a long-running franchise and many similar movies. While the Friday the 13th movies were never particularly popular in a mainstream way, they developed an incredibly strong cult following.

Some of these fans are so obsessed with the movies that they will go on pilgrimages to sites where events from the movies actually took place. The most popular one is the iconic Camp Crystal Lake where Jason Voorhees originally drowned and where the events of the first movie took place.

People who are not hard-core fans of the film franchise may not realize that Camp Crystal Lake was originally a Boy Scout camp that was rented for one month to the film crew. The Boy Scouts never expected the film to become as popular as it did or give them the attention that it did.

The camp is still an active Boy Scout camp which has to deal with a constant flow of trespassing fans touring the area, making it hard for the young Scouts to actually get anything done and likely scaring some of them senseless. The police regularly arrest people for trespassing, but it seems to do little to stop their enthusiasm. Recently, the camp allowed a brief period of guided tours to dissuade people from bothering them the rest of the year. The tickets sold out almost immediately.

8Slenderman And The Stabbing

Slender Man Stabbing Survivor’s Remarkable Recovery | Nightline | ABC News

Slenderman was a recently created boogeyman meant to frighten the YouTube generation, although a fair amount of effort was put into making him seem ancient. The preposterous legend of Slenderman claims that this long, thin man with no face, extremely white skin, and a black suit lures children into the woods and then does something nefarious with them.

The details are always incredibly vague, and the stories also claim that just thinking, talking, or even reading about Slenderman makes him come for you. The only way to make him stop coming for you is to stop thinking about him. While most people readily understand that Slenderman is just a clever meme, some people don’t understand the difference between fantasy and reality.

Recently in Waukesha, Wisconsin, two 12-year-old girls lured their friend into the woods, and stabbed her 19 times with a knife. Miraculously, the victim survived, and the two perpetrators were arrested for their crime.

When asked why they stabbed their friend, they said they did it to please Slenderman and that if they didn’t, Slenderman was going to harm their families. The legal system is trying them as adults, but their lawyer believes that they are disturbed juveniles who need mental health treatment.

7The Wicker Man And An Ancient Pagan Tradition

The Wicker Man – Trailer

Today, the movie The Wicker Man is better known for the recent remake starring Nicholas Cage and the bee-related memes that it inspired. Unfortunately, the Cage version overshadowed the original Wicker Man, which was actually a well-made horror film with an excellent setting and a fairly original story.

In the original, a police inspector is called to an island to look for a missing girl and quickly discovers that things are not at all like most places. The island is run by a group of nearly all women who follow ancient pagan traditions and quickly claim that the girl he is looking for does not even exist.

After a chilling investigation, he concludes that they are hiding the girl to prepare her for sacrifice. Rushing to the rescue, he finds that they were planning to sacrifice him to their pagan gods all along to ensure a better sacrifice. They place him in a giant wicker man statue and set it ablaze.

While this may sound like pure fiction, the truth is that these practices were based on ancient pagan traditions. According to a 10th-century document, people sacrificed live humans by placing them inside giant wicker statues. Of course, at the time in which the movies are set, human sacrifices hadn’t been practiced by pagans for hundreds of years. But it was once a chilling reality in the ancient world.

6Vampires And The Need To Drink Blood


Photo credit: Carniphage

Long before Twilight, vampires were a popular mythological being. They have captured our imaginations for hundreds of years, and they often make for interesting stories.

When most people watch a vampire movie or read a vampire book, they may think about how cool it would be to be immortal, but then they go to work or school and move on with reality and live their lives like normal people. On the other hand, some people read about vampires and decide that they have always been one, which is when it gets really weird.

At least two types of these self-described vampires believe that they need to “feed.” One is fairly harmless and just claims they want to feed on “energy.” They walk around in crowds and think it gives them some kind of power. On the other hand, the second type actually feels that they need to drink blood regularly and will often try to get their partners or random people involved.

This can cause disease and lead to incredibly dangerous situations of all sorts. Unfortunately, some people have trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality, which has led some alleged “vampires” to use violent means to get fresh human blood to drink.

5The Werewolf And Murder

Sacramento sheriff’s video shows dramatic moments before woman killed

In the popular vampire movie series Underworld, the vampires and lycans (a form of werewolf) are perpetually locked in a bloody war with each other. As the vampires feed on innocent human blood with nothing to stop them, many people are caught in the middle of the violence between the warring factions.

Another more recent series about vampires and werewolves focuses on a teenage girl who falls in love with a 100-year-old man, who is utterly crazed with a lust to drink her blood. For some reason, they fight werewolves that are not really werewolves. While these movies have caught the popular imagination, most people understand that you can’t really be a vampire or a werewolf. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to realize this.

Early this year, a California man walked up to his female neighbor’s door, and when she came to the doorway, he shot and killed her. After he was arrested for this senseless, violent act, things took a turn for the truly bizarre when a forensic psychologist interviewed the man. Apparently, he believed that he was a werewolf sent on a mission from God to destroy vampires, including his neighbor. His lawyer decided to go with an insanity plea.

4The Independent Horror Film And Its Brutal Origins

The Blair Witch Project (1999) – Trailer

Many people will go to incredible lengths to achieve their dreams. Several years ago, Dateline did a special on Blaine Norris, a man who had spent a lot of money to self-fund his independent horror film. A huge fan of gory slasher movies with lots of violence, he was trying to create a horror movie like The Blair Witch Project.

But Norris didn’t have any experience with making movies, so the project was plagued with trouble from the start. Despite having a good job in IT, director Norris put himself into massive debt trying to finish his film. His best chance to complete it came from Brian Trimble, a friend who wanted to help fund the project, except that Trimble’s wife didn’t want him spending that much money on an independent film.

Trimble started talking about divorce and then mysteriously said that he and his wife were fine a few days later. A short time after that, his wife was found brutally murdered at home, stabbed repeatedly and covered in blood. When the police arrived at the scene, they noticed that the grieving Trimble didn’t seem very upset. But he had a solid alibi.

After some chilling investigative work, the police discovered that Trimble had paid Norris to kill his wife so that Trimble would have full control over his money. Then the two men could fund whatever projects they wanted without interference.

When Norris was finally caught, he described his crime with no remorse. The police believe that he got a thrill out of his action and was a possible serial killer in the making who was inspired by the horror movie he had tried to create.

3The Man And The Antichrist Baby

The Omen (1976) Theatrical Trailer

The movie The Omen is loosely based on the mythology of the Bible. In the story, Damien is born into the world as the Antichrist, a child with terrible demonic powers and an evil birthmark on his head. Once his father discovers this, he tries to murder his own boy, knowing that such evil cannot be allowed to rule the world.

Although many people like to claim that the latest US president—or any world leader—is the Antichrist, most people understand that it is likely nothing more than a misinterpreted biblical legend. However, some people take the movie too seriously and begin to believe that their own child is the Antichrist.

This happened in a religious sect in Chile that was run by a man who considered himself a god named “Antares from the Light.” Along with his wife, there were several other female cult members with whom he had sex. Getting close to what he believed to be the end of days—December 21, 2012—he convinced his wife and the other cult members that his newborn daughter was actually an Antichrist sent into the world to wreak havoc.

They burned the infant in a bonfire as a “purifying” ritual. The cult members, including the mother, were arrested for the crime, and their alleged god, Antares, immediately went on the run.

2The Shining And The Attacker

The Shining (1980) – Here’s Johnny! Scene (7/7) | Movieclips

The most dramatic scene in The Shining is when Danny and his mom run through the hotel trying to escape from Jack and then hide in the bathroom. Jack is hacking away at the door with the axe, and the hysterical mother pushes her child out the window to safety. Finally, he breaks through with the axe and yells, “Here’s Johnny.”

It was a line that would be parodied countless times but was utterly terrifying for those watching the movie the first time. The terror that was captured by the brilliant directing of Stanley Kubrick left a huge impression on people’s imaginations.

In 2015, that became all too real for a couple living in an apartment in Idaho, who filmed several bizarre seconds of a similar scene. They heard kicking and yells next door, like someone was trying to break into a nearby apartment, and then someone was trying to kick down their door.

They warned the assailant that they had guns, but he continued until he kicked the door down. He was brandishing a large machete. The residents of the apartment shot the intruder in self-defense.

The intruder was later sentenced for attempted murder. He even admitted in the couple’s brief video that he wanted to kill them. Sadly, he was a veteran with serious PTSD and neurological damage. He didn’t have a history of violence. But one day, he just snapped, and no one saw it coming.

1Cannibal Holocaust And The Ban

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) (HD Trailer)

Cannibal Holocaust is perhaps the most depraved piece of cinema ever created. It features brutal, vivid scenes of rape, murder, torture, cannibalism, and just about every terrible thing imaginable. If it was hurtful to another human being or animal and it was a senselessly evil act, there is a good chance that it was graphically depicted in this movie.

Cannibal Holocaust was one of the original films in the “found footage” genre. It’s about a group of filmmakers who study cannibals living in the jungle. But like The Blair Witch Project, we are only seeing the film recovered later.

The movie was also reviled for wanton animal cruelty, which caused the director to be fined by the government. The film producers did their best to make it all seem as real as possible and got a lot of attention by teasing all the horrible things in the film.

Unfortunately, they did such a good job of making these awful events seem real that the director was hauled into court in Italy. The authorities were convinced by the movie that the director had killed some of the actors he had brought into the jungle. As of 2015, the movie has been banned in at least 40 countries and was only recently unbanned in the UK.

fact checked by Jamie Frater