Horror Stories

11 Real-Life Horror Stories That Are Way More Terrifying Than Anything Hollywood Could Dream Up

Published September 17, 2023
Updated March 12, 2024

From Alexander the Great being buried alive to a Jameson heir paying to watch a girl be cannibalized, these true horror stories go way beyond Rated R.

The horror stories that fuel cinema’s most terrifying plots may leave audiences unsettled, disturbed, and downright nauseated. But even the scariest films are nothing compared to history’s grisliest real-life horror stories.

Whether it’s bloodthirsty monsters, twisted serial killers, or people being buried alive, the darkest corners of history are filled with true tales of terror that put any movie to shame. From “Brooklyn Vampire” Albert Fish to the Beast of Gévaudan to the chilling Dyatlov Pass Incident, these are some of history’s most haunting real-life horror stories.

Real-Life Horror Stories: The Man Who Amassed A Collection Of Mummified Girls

Horror Stories Anatoly Moskvin

AP Newsroom/The Daily BeastAnatoly Moskvin and one of his “dolls.”

Anatoly Moskvin seemed like a smart guy. According to The Daily Beast, the college professor and Russian journalist mastered 13 languages.

But he also had a peculiar hobby: He was a self-dubbed “necropolyst,” or an expert on cemeteries.

Moskvin was so fascinated by cemeteries, in fact, that he visited 752 of them in and around his hometown. He wrote lengthy reports with titles like “Great Walks Around Cemeteries” and “What the Dead Said” that were published in a weekly newspaper called Necrologies.

Apparently, this curiosity was tied directly to an incident from his childhood, which he divulged in his last contribution to the paper on Oct. 26, 2011. When Moskvin was 13, a group of men stopped him and forced him to join a funeral — and to kiss the dead 11-year-old girl on the lips.

“I kissed her once, then again, then again,” he wrote.

The girl’s mother then placed a wedding ring on his and her daughter’s fingers. Moskvin wrote that his “strange marriage…was useful,” and spurred an irrevocable, lifelong fascination with the dead.

Real Scary Stories

Pravda Report This is, perhaps, Moskvin’s creepiest mummified corpse.

Moskvin began writing about the dead and taking detailed notes of each cemetery he visited. He even spent a night in the coffin of a dead person ahead of their funeral.

It was when locals found the graves of their loved ones desecrated and dug up in 2009 that Moskvin’s hobbies became untenable. The Russian government had no leads, but they were sure extremists were to blame.

Until 2011, nobody had any inkling who the culprit in this bizarre horror story was. But when police heard that Muslim graves were being desecrated in Nizhny Novgorod following a terrorist attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, they finally caught a break.

They found Moskvin painting over the pictures of dead Muslims. While he wasn’t desecrating the bodies themselves, authorities arrested him and searched his apartment. That’s when they realized they’d stumbled upon a real-life horror story.

Countless life-sized dolls littered the apartment, which Moskvin shared with his parents. The dolls’ hands were covered in fabric, and makeup covered their faces. It quickly became apparent that these were not inanimate objects. These were the mummified corpses of human girls.

Disturbing footage of the Moskvin home, including the mummified corpses of young girls.

When police tried to move them, music began to blare. Moskvin had embedded music boxes into the chest cavities of these “dolls.” A dried human heart and a piece of a gravestone were found in the home, as well.

The corpses were stuffed with rags, their eye sockets filled with buttons or toy eyes. Moskvin said he would “watch cartoons” with them, and that he dug them up because he was lonely. He said his biggest dream was to have children, and that he’d been waiting for science to figure out how to revive the dead.

His parents had no idea; they assumed their son had a hobby of building large playthings. In court, their son confessed to 44 counts of abusing graves and dead bodies.

“I still find it hard to grasp the scale of his sickening ‘work’ but for nine years he was living with my mummified daughter in his bedroom,” said Natalia Chardymova, the mother of Moskvin’s first victim. “I had her for ten years, he had year for nine.”

Despite psychiatrists claiming that Moskvin’s condition is steadily improving, prosecutors agree with Chardymova — and have continued to keep him safely removed from society.

Marco Margaritoff
A former staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff holds dual Bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a Master's in journalism from New York University. He has published work at People, VICE, Complex, and serves as a staff reporter at HuffPost.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.