Hopefully people are not using real corpses as Halloween décor. But sometimes corpses end up out in the open for passersby to see. And when this happens around Halloween, people may unfortunately assume it's just a really good prop.
In October 2005, residents of Frederica, Delaware, noticed a woman's body hanging from a tree about 15 feet (4.5 meters) above the ground alongside a moderately busy road. It took three hours before someone called police; most people assumed it was a Halloween joke. It wasn't. The corpse was a 42-year-old woman who apparently committed suicide [source: NBC News].
Similarly, four years later in October 2009, a California man killed himself on his apartment balcony, police believe, by shooting himself through the eye. His lifeless body then slumped over his patio furniture. Those who spied the man thought it was a dummy set out for Halloween. It was five days before people realized the "dummy" was a corpse [source: Cathcart].
More recently, in October 2015, a Chillicothe, Ohio, woman was murdered and left hanging on a chain-link fence, her left hand sticking up. A neighbor who spotted the body thought it was a holiday decoration — a zombie. Luckily she took a closer look and discovered the chilling truth [source: ABC13].
This Halloween, pay close attention to any corpse you spot.
Author's Note: 10 Halloween Attractions That Went Too Far
As someone who hates scary movies and haunted houses, and who has the world's strongest startle reflex, this article further confirms my aversion to everything and anything scary. And to wandering around in dark, confined spaces, where you can get hurt in any number of ways.
But the most chilling part of researching this story was finding out about the existence of such places as McKamey Manor. With all of the people in the world suffering from PTSD, why in the world would people voluntarily subject themselves to this? The people behind the creation of these "attractions" freely admit they love scaring people senseless — it gives them a rush. That, alone, is creepy enough for me.
More Great Links
- ABC 13. "Dead Ohio Woman's Body Mistaken for Halloween Decoration." Oct. 16, 2015. (Oct. 12, 2016) http://abc13.com/news/dead-womans-body-mistaken-for-halloween-decoration/1035630/
- Accomondo, Beth. "Not A Haunted House: This Haunted Experience Terrorizes For Hours." NPR. Oct. 30, 2014. (Oct. 5, 2016) http://www.npr.org/2014/10/30/360019747/not-a-haunted-house-this-haunted-experience-terrorizes-for-hours
- Benefield, Chadwick. "McKamey Manor Presents The Chamber: A New Interactive Horror Experience (Video)." WBKR. Sept. 19, 2016. (Oct. 12, 2016) http://wbkr.com/mckamey-manor-presents-the-chamber-a-new-interactive-horror-experience-video/
- Bowerman, Mary. "Calif. theme park pulls Halloween VR experience amid outrage." USA Today. Sept. 29, 2016. (Oct. 5, 2016) http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/09/29/california-amusement-park-attraction-virtual-reality-slammed-mental-illness-insecurity/91272812/
- Brown, Adam Tod. "7 Insane Moments in the World's Most Hardcore Haunted House." Cracked. Oct. 28, 2012. (Oct. 13, 2016) http://www.cracked.com/blog/7-insane-moments-in-worlds-most-hardcore-haunted-house/
- Campisi, Jon. "N.J. man sues Pennhurst haunted house, site of landmark 'Halderman' U.S. Supreme Court Decision." Penn Record. May 23, 2013. (Oct. 5, 2016) http://pennrecord.com/stories/510553094-n-j-man-sues-pennhurst-haunted-house-site-of-landmark-lsquo-halderman-rsquo-u-s-supreme-court-decision
- Cathcart, Rebecca. "Body Is Mistaken for a Halloween Display." The New York Times. Oct. 17, 2009. (Oct. 12, 2016) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/us/18body.html?_r=2
- Claims Journal. "Year Later, Haunted House Accident Problems Linger." Oct. 18, 2012. (Oct. 5, 2016) http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/midwest/2012/10/18/215624.htm
- Cook, Morgan. "Infamous haunted house is back in San Diego." The San Diego Union-Tribune. Oct. 28, 2015. (Oct. 7, 2016) http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sdut-mckamey-returns-2015oct28-htmlstory.html
- Facebook. "The Truth About McKamey Manor." (Oct. 5, 2016) https://www.facebook.com/thetruthaboutmckameymanor/
- Hahn, Valerie Schremp. "Soulard haunted house sued over death of teen." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Dec. 9, 2010. (Oct. 5, 2016) http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/soulard-haunted-house-sued-over-death-of-teen/article_ed90877e-8c0d-5dc5-bcc6-75bead55defe.html
- Haunted House Association. "Haunted Fast Facts." (Oct. 5, 2016) http://www.hauntedhouseassociation.org/haunted_attraction_information?
- Hitzeman, Harry. "End to Montgomery haunted house sex-toy lawsuit." Daily Herald. April 7, 2016. (Oct. 7, 2016) http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20160407/news/160409067/
- Keller, Robert. "Lawsuit: Mom, daughter assaulted by clowns with sex toys at haunted house." Daily Herald. Oct. 23, 2014. (Oct. 5, 2016) http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141021/news/141029593/
- Khoury, George. "Haunted House Injury Lawsuit Settles for $125K." Find Law. Sept. 27, 2016. (Oct. 10, 2016) http://blogs.findlaw.com/injured/2016/09/haunted-house-injury-lawsuit-settles-for-125k.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Injured+%28Injured%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher
- Moss, Charles. "Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend." The Week. Oct. 24, 2014. (Oct. 5, 2016) http://theweek.com/articles/442834/extreme-haunted-houses-inside-halloweens-most-terrifying-new-trend
- NBC News. "Corpse mistaken for Halloween decoration." Oct. 27, 2005. (Oct. 12, 2016) http://www.nbcnews.com/id/9841877/ns/us_news-life/t/corpse-mistaken-halloween-decoration/#.V_6GF-UrKUl
- Opfer, Chris. "Yes, Real Human Corpses Have Been Mistaken for Halloween Décor." How Stuff Works. Oct. 30, 2015. (Oct. 5, 2016) https://now.howstuffworks.com/2015/10/30/yes-real-human-corpses-have-been-mistaken-halloween-décor
- Phillips, Dave. "Roseville woman files lawsuit against Erebus after falling at facility." The Oakland Press. Oct. 13, 2015. (Oct. 5, 2016) http://www.theoaklandpress.com/article/OP/20151013/NEWS/151019825
- Rogers, Susan. "Powerful Advocacy Has Shut Down Halloween 'Attractions' That Ramp Up Prejudice." National Alliance on Mental Illness. Sept. 30, 2016. (Oct. 12, 2016) http://namivalleyofthesun.org/powerful-advocacy-has-shut-down-halloween-attractions-that-ramp-up-prejudice/
- Turk, John. "Injury lawsuit involving Pontiac's Erebus haunted house settled for $125k." The Oakland Press. Sept. 16, 2016. (Oct. 5, 2016) http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20160916/injury-lawsuit-involving-pontiacs-erebus-haunted-house-settled-for-125k
- Young, Josh. "Erebus Haunted House In Michigan Is One Of The World's Largest." Theme Park University. Oct. 24, 2013. (Oct. 10, 2016) http://themeparkuniversity.com/haunted-attractions/erebus-haunted-house-michigan-one-worlds-largest/
- Zavoral, Linda. "Great America pulls plug on Halloween 'FearVR' attraction." The Mercury News. Sept. 27, 2016. (Oct. 7, 2016) http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/09/27/great-america-knotts-berry-farm-pull-plug-on-fearvr-for-halloween/
Are you the ringleader, the offerer or the fifth wheel? HowStuffWorks Now talks with some haunted house experts on how to scare each one.