7 Disturbing True Stories Of Phrogging, When People Unwittingly Shared Their Homes With Intruders

Published August 29, 2023
Updated August 30, 2023

Go inside seven chilling cases of phrogging, from Pamela Anderson's stalker to the murderous Denver Spider Man.

For many people, the idea that a stranger could be living in your home without your knowledge is one of the most terrifying scenarios.

Unfortunately, for some individuals, this nightmarish situation has been a reality. They have become the victims of phrogging, or the act of a person secretly living in an occupied space without the residents’ permission.

While the word “phrogging” has technically only existed since 2014, the practice is likely as old as homes themselves.

These seven stories below demonstrate how truly horrifying the act of phrogging can be and prompt the unsettling question: Do you really know who is lurking in the shadowy nooks and crannies of your home?

The Stomach-Churning Case Of Daniel LaPlante


Barry Chin/Boston Globe StaffDaniel LaPlante, the Massachusetts teen who hid in his crush’s walls and then went on to commit brutal murders.

Tina Bowen was convinced that the spirit of her deceased mother was speaking to her through the walls of her home in Pepperell, Massachusetts.

For weeks, the teenager received cryptic messages scribbled onto the walls in condiments like ketchup. Items mysteriously rearranged themselves around the house. Full bottles of alcohol suddenly became empty.

Then, on December 8, 1986, Bowen and her father returned home to find a bone-chilling sight: a stranger in one of their closets with a painted face, a Native American-style jacket, a ninja mask, and a hatchet in hand.

He forced the Bowens into a bedroom before running off into another part of the home. Tina used the opportunity to escape and call the police.

Authorities arrived and found that the stranger was a teenager named Daniel LaPlante, whom Tina had briefly dated, and he had been living in the family’s crawl space for several weeks, taunting them all the while.

Unfortunately, this creepy story doesn’t end here.

LaPlante would later go on to brutally murder a young teacher and her two children while he was out on bail for the Bowen family incident.

Daniel LaPlante

Steve Bezanson, Tom LaneA police sketch of Daniel LaPlante’s hiding place while he was phrogging in the Bowen home.

At first, LaPlante only planned to burglarize the home of the Gustafson family in November and December 1987, but he was caught off guard on December 1st when Priscilla Gustafson and her children came home early.

LaPlante later said that he had considered jumping out the window and escaping, but instead he opted to confront Priscilla, aiming a gun at her and leading her and her five-year-old son William to a bedroom. There, he forced William into a closet and tied Priscilla to a bed, gagging her with a sock.

He raped Priscilla, then shot her twice in the head. Afterward, he took William into the bathroom and drowned him, and when seven-year-old Abigail Gustafson returned home just as LaPlante was leaving, he led the young girl to another bathroom and drowned her too.

LaPlante was easily linked to the crime scene, and subsequently arrested just two days later. During his trial in October 1988, a jury found him guilty of murder, and he was sentenced to three life sentences.

Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Point Park University.
Jaclyn Anglis
Jaclyn is the senior managing editor at All That's Interesting. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York and a Bachelor's degree in English writing and history (double major) from DePauw University. She is interested in American history, true crime, modern history, pop culture, and science.
Cite This Article
Harvey, Austin. "7 Disturbing True Stories Of Phrogging, When People Unwittingly Shared Their Homes With Intruders." AllThatsInteresting.com, August 29, 2023, https://allthatsinteresting.com/phrogging. Accessed April 18, 2024.