Now would be a good time to check the fake skeletons and fake corpses decorating your house…just to make sure that they aren’t real, like they were in these stories.
- In October 1990, Brian Jewell was working at the Haunted Hayride in Lakewood, New Jersey, portraying a hangman’s victim. After reciting a speech, he was supposed to be mock hanged on a fake noose. He did his bit as usual for a crowd of people, but when the next crowd came through, they marveled at the lifelike body hanging from the noose. It was Jewell—the noose had malfunctioned.
- Around Halloween 2009, the neighbors of 75-year-old Mostafa Zayed’s Marina Del Rey, California, marveled at the realistically spooky and detailed decorations he’d placed in his yard, especially a pained looking fake corpse slumped over on the porch. It took four days four those neighbors to realize that it wasn’t a dummy—it was Zayed.
- In 1976, filming for an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man was underway at a fun house in the Nu-Pike Amusement Park near Los Angeles. Among the spooky decorations lending atmosphere to what was supposed to be a scary scene was a dummy hanging in the corner. The director didn’t like it, however, and asked a crew member to remove it. The crew member did…and its arm broke off, exposing not dummy stuffing but a human bone. The production was shut down, a medical examiner was summoned, and the body was determined to be that of James McCurdy, an outlaw who died in 1911. The corpse had been embalmed with arsenic and appeared in a series of sideshows before it had gotten lost…and then found again.