Halloween is upon us. Here are five scary stories made that much more frightful due to the fact that they're true.
With Halloween just around the corner, ‘tis the season for creepy stories and our favorite horror movies marathoned on TV. Sometimes, though, the scariest tales are rooted in fact. After all, some of our favorite movie villains were based on real serial killers or criminals.
But what about the truly freaky stories in history that should get their own movies? Here are five freaky stories that are totally true:
True Scary Stories: The Wandering Soul Tapes
In Vietnamese culture, it is essential to properly bury a loved one in their homeland so as to ensure their contentment in the afterlife. If not, the belief is that the deceased’s soul will wander aimlessly as it tries to find its way home.
During the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were aware that the conflict would take many fighting far from their home villages, meaning that if they died, they most certainly would end up as wandering souls. U.S. forces exploited these beliefs as a psychological scare tactic.
North American troops created a tape of disembodied, tormented voices and played it on loudspeakers as they flew planes over the jungle. Known as “Ghost tape number ten,” the fear tactic had been specifically created by sound engineers who drew from methods used for spooky television and radio broadcasts:
The voices — some of them children — called out to the Vietnamese warning them to flee, lest they end up damned to hell.
It worked and often led to Vietnamese troops running from their positions in a panic, which was precisely what the American troops had hoped for. Even after the Vietnamese soldiers figured out it was a recording played from flyovers, it was so unnerving that they would abandon their posts just to escape the eerie sounds that played on an endless loop throughout the night.
Freaky Stories: The Tucker Telephone
If you were unfortunate enough to be imprisoned at the Tucker State Prison Farm in early 1960s Arkansas, you would have had the misfortune of experiencing one of the most hellacious torture devices ever invented.
A prison physician named Dr. A.E. Rollins devised a torture device to punish unruly prisoners, which he fashioned out of an old crank telephone, an electric generator, and two dry cell batteries.
For the treatment, a prisoner would be brought into a “hospital room” where they would be strapped down to a table, two wires applied to their skin. The ground wire would be wrapped around their big toe and the hot wire — through which the electricity would run — was attached to the genitals. The crank was turned and — well, the prisoner got a shock.
Particularly long sessions of torture were cheekily referred to as “long-distance calls,” but the torture was no laughing matter: in addition to permanent damage to the organs, many of the prisoners who received the treatment went completely insane.
What’s worse is that the device was used regularly until 1968.