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Top 10 Horrific Discoveries

by C.J. Phillips
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Finding a worm in your apple, a hole in your sock or a scratch on your car are never things a person wants to find. But when you think about it, things could be worse. A LOT worse! You’d much rather a little worm in your apple than any of the tragic, nauseating and offensive discoveries in this list any day of the week. Heck, you’d probably take half a worm! [WARNING: Disturbing content]

10 Horrifically Botched Executions

10 Burglar finds body

The last thing you want when you’re out burglarizing properties is to come across the horrific sight of the homeowner hanged to death. That’s exactly what a rather unlucky crook got when he was robbing a house in Hamilton, New Zealand. After realizing he’d just bumped into the hanged man in the dark, the burglar tore out of the house screaming “He’s dead! He’s dead!” and hot-footed it to his mother’s house a few doors down.

Apart from the obvious strange circumstance of the case, one has to beg the question—why would you rob a house a few doors away? Another strange twist was the uncharacteristic leniency the cops showed the would-be burglar. They let him off, believing that this macabre series of events would scare him straight. Let’s hope so![1]

9 Why you should ALWAYS check under the bed!

Whenever a child asks you to check under their bed for something scary, remember this true story and you will not hesitate to give in to their nightly whinging. Often cited as an urban legend, this gruesome story actually happened to a couple, indeed to many couples, from as far back as 1982. It is this first instance of ‘The Body under the Bed’ that we’ll be dealing with.

Three crooks in New Jersey thought they had a good scam going. They’d steal cars and sell them on. Simple. But two out of the terrible trio got suspicious regarding the third, one Gary Smith. All three rented a motel room in New Bergen, New Jersey and ordered some food. Daniel Deppner and Richard Kuklinski, (the infamous serial killer and mob hit-man known as the ‘Ice Man’) laced the unwitting Smith’s burger with cyanide. After a few chomps, Smith began to succumb to the poison and died. Deppner and Kuklinski stuffed the dead man’s corpse under the bed and left. It was found four days later by the fourth couple who’d rented the room. His body was bloated and discoloured after a few nights in-between the mattress and the frame in a heated room.[2]

8 That’s not candy

The only thing that makes a frozen dessert better is the addition on sweet toppings. Pieces of candy, small cubes of cake or lashings of hot fudge sauce can turn your already yummy iced dairy treat into a full blown foodgasm. This case from 2005 is certainly not an appetizing one!

Clarence Stowers from Wilmington, North Carolina ordered a frozen custard from Kohl’s Frozen Custard in his home town. Stowers was tucking into his tasty treat when he began licking at something slightly more solid than the gooey iced custard he thought he’d ordered. What did he find? A finger. A human finger. Needless to say, the customer was horrified. The restaurant confirmed that it was the finger of an employee and not some random person’s severed digit that had somehow found its way into their custard, (as if that was Ok!) They also were able to confirm that this wasn’t the first time an employee had lost a finger at one of their outlets—making the serving of frozen dessert the modern equivalent of working with heavy machinery in foundries or textile mills during the industrial revolution. This quote from poor Mr. Stowers will really turn your stomach, almost as much as his was: ” I thought it was candy because they put candy in your ice cream … to make it a treat. OK, well, I’ll just put it in my mouth and get the ice cream off of it and see what it is”. Delightful.[3]

7 Demons from the Dark Ages

We can be pretty sure that 8th century Ireland was a rather superstitious place. In fact, without the benefit of modern medical and scientific advances I’m sure pretty much anywhere will have been superstitious to the extreme back then. Burning people for witchcraft, mistaking comets for dragons tearing through the clouds and the belief that water from a random spring could heal that pesky bout of leprosy were pretty much fact of life for your average dark age peasant.

But this archaeological discovery in County Roscommon really paints a fearful picture of life in that period. During a routine survey of medieval churches, a gruesome set of burials were found in the grounds of an ancient church. Two male skeletons, one aged in his 40s the other in his 20s, were unearthed and found to be sporting some rather novel mouth-gear. They had large stones placed into their mouths. The professionals studying the skeletons could surmise that the stones had been wedged in rather violently as opposed to placed in due to the jaws being almost dislocated. But why would people have done this? Had the men committed a crime? Were they too talkative in life? The real explanation is far more disturbing—they were being prevented from returning as marauding zombies. The men were unearthed lying side by side which suggests they had been related or at least died in the same manner. The pictures of the skeletons are chilling, as if straight from a horror movie.[4]

6 An un-gentlemanly bug

It’s always exciting when a new species is found. With so many undiscovered wonders still to come to our attention, each new animal that can be studied edges us closer to a better understanding of how the world works. Plus, with so many animals becoming endangered and extinct, a newly catalogued animal goes a little way to give us some hope of one day living in harmony with the natural world around us.

However, this mini beast from Costa Rica would make even the most ardent PETA member wish it had remained un-discovered! The forcepfly is only around 20 mm long but when viewed under a microscope it looks like a creature that’d give Godzilla a pretty hard time! The curious genital pincers the males posses are longer than its abdomen and look meaner than a pit-bull at a Chihuahua convention. Scientists are still in the dark regarding the behavioural patterns of these micro monsters. Due to their svelte physiques and tiny size, they’re very adept at hiding in places humans cannot readily observe. However the supposition is that the giant pincers are used for fighting between male rivals and possible to secure a female forcepfly during mating. Charming![5]

10 Horrifying Stories Of People Who Were Buried Alive

5 A soldier’s tragedy

Many stories are so unbelievable that they enter the realms of urban legends just as easily as fabricated campfire tales and phoney email chain letters. This particular story has taken many forms for many years but one case from 1991 gives credence to the legend which either foretold the horrific tragedy that befell Sgt. Gregory Voelcker or stemmed from it. Voelcker was a sergeant in the US Air Force and was stationed at RAF Mildenhall air base in rural England. He lived with his wife and two children in a small cottage outside the village of Kirtling, around 60 northeast of London.

On returning from a temporary assignment in Greece, Sgt. Voelcker entered his home to find his wife and 2 young children had died. Autopsies showed that Lorraine Voelcker had died of a probable heart attack while the children, (aged 2 and 16-months old) had succumbed to dehydration a number of days after their mother’s death. The Air Force had routinely called upon a representative to give a phone call to the Voelcker family to check they were all right. Mrs. Voelcker mentioned that she and the children were going to visit a relative in the North of England. A few days later, when another call was made to the Voelcker household, there was no answer. The Air Force assumed that the mother and her kids were still up north. This sad tale has all the elements of a classic urban legend. It just goes to show that fact is often stranger than fiction.[6]

4 Funhouse of Horrors

Remember the famous “You’re the one that I want” scene from the movie Grease? It shows Olivia Newton John and John Travolta dancing and singing in an old fairground funhouse ride. It all looked like so much fun! Most of us remember these types of attraction—like a mechanical assault course with in-built slides and ball pits. But I bet not many of us remember a funhouse ride with a real corpse as one of the attractions. What’s fun about that? Well the owners of the Nu-Pike amusement park in Long Beach thought it was fine, but they had no idea their ‘Hanging Man’ was actually a dead outlaw from the Old West!

In 1911, Elmer McCurdy robbed a train of $43 and a couple of jugs of whiskey. He was hunted down by a posse of lawmen and shot to death. After he was embalmed, no next of kin turned up to claim the remains for burial so the undertaker decided to charge punters to see the famed “Bandit who would not give up” and stood him in a corner of the funeral parlour. After a tour of museums and funfairs around the USA that lasted over 50 years, the bandit was hung up in the funhouse at Long Beach where he remained for four years. It was only when a crew member who was filming an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man tried to move the ‘prop’ did he discover that this was a REAL dead guy. How? He yanked poor McCurdy’s arm off and saw that a human bone was inside! The unlucky bandit has since been buried in Summit View Cemetery, Oklahoma under two tonnes of cement to prevent him from ever starring in another funfair sideshow again![7]

3 London’s forgotten lady

This heart-wrenching story of how everyone who knew Joyce Carol Vincent seemingly forgot she existed strikes a chord with anyone who lives alone in a big city. When officials from the North London Housing Association went to a bedsit in Wood Green, they discovered the skeletonised body of a 38-year-old female tenant who had been dead for 3 years. Her television was still turned on and a pile of unopened Christmas presents were sitting in the corner of her living room.

In life, Vincent was a pretty, popular woman who had a great job, an eclectic group of friends and met a host of famous people such as Nelson Mandela, Gil Scott Heron and she once had dinner with Stevie Wonder. One day, she left a highly paid job at a large multinational corporation and became increasingly reclusive. She seems to have just allowed herself to drift apart from all who knew her, severed ties with the outside world and consequently nobody noticed when she died. It has been suggested that Vincent had been in numerous abusive relationships and had also suffered a troubled home life as a child—this can go some way to explaining her fragile mental state and why she’d seek isolation. However, just how this woman who’d touched many people’s lives could simply fade away and remain undiscovered for years, is a damning indictment of the modern world’s indifference, (even the local government, financial and utility companies let her slide for years!). Vincent’s story was the subject of the touching 2011 drama-documentary Dreams of a Life.[8]

2 Corpse in the canopy

“Walker stumble across a bone in the woods” is an all-too-common prelude to the uncovering of some grizzly series of long-forgotten murders that can finally be put to bed. Not so in this bizarre case from Germany. Sebastian Gunther and Stephanie Bauer were enjoying a stroll in the woods near Bruckberg, Lower Bavaria when they stumbled across a human bone poking out of the undergrowth. When officers arrived at the scene, they couldn’t find the rest of the body…until they looked up. The body of Paul Ludwig was sitting on a branch 40 feet up in a fir tree.

When Ludwig decided to take his own life because he was suffering from cancer, he left a note for his family that read: “Don’t look for me, you won’t find me”. And they didn’t, for 29 years! Ludwig had climbed the tree, (even though he had two artificial hips!) tied himself to the bough, tied a rifle to his body and shot himself. Police assumed that the ropes had tightened around his limbs as the tree grew causing them to sever the limb bones and lead to the long-awaited discovery.[9]

1 A most politically incorrect building

There are few symbols more emotive than the swastika. Although originally a Hindu sign of ‘peace’, most people will only associate the symbol with the Nazis. The brutal regime usurped the swastika and it has since become synonymous with evil and oppression. After the fall of Hitler’s army, the swastika has been used by far-right groups and, during the 70’s, as a symbol of anarchy worn for shock value by English punks.

Thanks to Google Earth, this most hated of symbols is visible from the air—in the architectural design of a Californian building owned by the U.S. Navy! After widespread public outrage and inquiries made by the Anti-defamation League, the Navy decided to explore the option of re-shaping the offensive structure. But the proposed cost, variously between $625,000 and $40 million (!), proved too high. The building still stands today and, although not intended to be offensive, one cannot help but feel shocked when seeing a giant stone swastika staring back at them from US soil. That such horrifying discovery can be left alone is worrying…but nobody seems to be in a rush to knock down South Wales’ ‘Hitler House; either![10]

10 Horrifically Botched Circumcisions

About The Author: CJ Phillips is an actor and writer from Swansea, South Wales. He is a little obsessed with lists.

fact checked by Jamie Frater