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6 True Horror Stories That Inspired Films

Horror films can make you feel a whole range of emotions; fear, suspense, nausea and sometimes even worry. The majority of horror films are entirely fictional, but sometimes you can find a film that was based on truth. In the following list you will become witness to some of the most horrific situations known to man. These stories don't fall in the realm of fiction. These true stories inspired films that will make you worry about whether or not it could happen to you. Because, the truth can truly horrify!


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Anneliese Michel

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

 
 

Anneliese Michel was born in Germany to a Catholic family in 1952. In 1968, when Michel turned 16, she experienced an extreme convulsion and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Soon afterwards Michel claimed that she was hallucinating while praying. Michel was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where she was regimented with different anti-psychosis medications.  As time progressed, Michel's condition did not improve and she began to become withdrawn and depressed.

Due to her religious upbringing, Michel began to attribute her condition to demonic possession. Eventually her hallucinations led her to believe that voices were telling her that she was "damned" and that she would "rot in hell." In addition, she began to see, what she described as, "devil faces." Becoming frustrated with the lack of progress from doctors, her family would start to reach out to the Catholic Church for help.

In September 1975 Father Renz began to exorcise Anneliese Michel according to the Rituale Rimanum of 1614.  For 10 months Father Renz continued the exorcism ritual.  The exorcism sessions would last up to 4 hours and would occur once or twice a week.  

Michel, her family, and Father Renz began to accept the fact that she was possessed and Michel eventually refused any further medical attention.  Eventually Michel began to talk about dying in order to atone for the "wayward youth" and refused to eat.  On July 1, 1976 Anneliese Michel died in her sleep. Her autopsy revealed that her death was due to malnutrition and dehydration, she weighed 68 pounds.

Anneliese Michel's story became the basis for the following films:

 

 
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Henry Lee Lucas was born in Virginia in 1936.  Lucas was the youngest of 9 children, born to Viola Dixon Waugh, an alcoholic prostitute. His father was a former railroad employee and alcoholic who had lost his legs in an accident. Lucas had a traumatic childhood that involved beatings and sexual trauma from his mother. According to his family, his mother would sometimes force him to watch her have sex with men and dress him up in woman's clothing. At age 10, Lucas was stabbed in his eye eventually leading to it being replaced by a glass eye.

After his father died of hypothermia, Lucas fled his home and began his life as a drifter.  In 1951 Lucas claimed he committed his first murder when he strangled a 17-year-old girl to death.  Lucas also claimed that he committed acts of bestiality during his early time as a drifter.

In 1959 Lucas moved to Michigan to live with his half sister Opal.  The next year, his mother visited him in Michigan, only to be murdered by Lucas after a dispute.  Lucas was arrested and sentenced to 20-40 years in prison.  After 10 years in prison Lucas was released due to overcrowding.  

After being released Lucas drifted around the American South doing odd jobs.  He met a man named Ottis Toole and started a romantic relationship with his 12-year-old niece Frieda Powell.  Lucas claimed that the trio committed hundreds of murders during their time together.

In 1983 Lucas was arrested for unlawful firearm possession, and later charged for a murder of an 82-year-old man.  Lucas confessed to literally hundreds of murders over the next few years.  Whether he committed the crimes or not is still in contention.  Lucas died of heart failure in prison in 2001, he was 64.

The following films were based on Henry Lee Lucas:


 
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The Phantom Killer was a serial killer that is credited with several murders in early 1946. His only description comes from two surviving attack victims, who describe him as a six-foot-tall man wearing a white mask over his head with holes cut out for his eyes and mouth.

The Phantom was never caught, but was believed to be a man named Youell Swinney.  Swinney's wife claimed that he was The Phantom after he was arrested for car theft.  Despite the claim that Swinney was Th Phantom, the fact that she told several different versions of her story lead police to considered her testimony unreliable.

Swinney was arrested in 1947 for car theft and sentenced to life in prison for being repeat offender.  In 1970 Swinney appealed his sentenced and was eventually set free in 1973.  He died 1994.

The Phantom was never identified, and the murders remain unsolved.  Over the years, family members of victims claim to have been contacted on the phone by a young woman.  The woman apologizes for her father's crimes.  Swinney never had a daughter and no leads have developed from these claims.

The Phantom Killer inspired the film:


 
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The Zodiac Killer was a North California serial killer during the late 1960's and early 1970's. The Zodiac Killer has 5 confirmed murders and claimed to have committed 37 killings in total. During the time of the murders, the killer was corresponding to local law enforcement and media through cryptic letters. He would sign all of letters with the symbol to the left.  Each letter would contain an ever increasing score, i.e. "zodiac=17 SFPD=0."  

Arthur Leigh Allen was the only suspect in the killings, but he was never charged.  Fingerprints that were left from the Zodiac Killer didn't match those of Allen's.  Despite this, 22 years after one of the murders a witness picked Allen's photo out of a lineup as the shooter.  Allen died from kidney failure due to diabetes in 1992.

The case remains open and was recently featured on a 2011 episode of America's Most Wanted.  The Zodiac Killer story was adapted into the film:


 
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Ronald DeFeo Jr. was born in Amityville, New York in 1951. Ronald was described by neighbors as a punk who drank and used drugs often. His family life was supposedly marred by violent outbursts from his father.  These factors would eventually lead to a cold blooded massacre inside the families New York home.

On November 13, 1974 Ronald burst into a local bar exclaiming that his mother and father were shot and that he needed help.  When a group of locals arrived at the house they found the 6 other members of Ronald's family shot and killed in their beds.  Both parents were shot twice by a shotgun while they slept.  Ronald's 4 siblings received similar fates as they were each shot a single time in their beds.

Ronald originally denied the murders and claimed that they were committed during a mob hit on the family.  After further interrogation, the officers soon became privy to some inconsistencies in Ronald's story.  Later the next morning Ronald admitted to the murder of his family, claiming "Once I started, I just couldn’t stop. It went so fast."  

Their is much controversy surrounding the murders.  The fact that none of the family woke up during Ronald's rampage is quite unusual.  During the trial, an experiment was conducted and the firearm Ronald used was heard blocks away.  Also his younger sister was found with un-burnt gunpowder on her nightgown, suggesting that she also fired the shotgun during the night.

Ronald confessed to the 6 murders and was sentenced to 6 life sentences.  He is currently in prison in Beekman, New York.

The story doesn't stop here... In December of 1975 the Lutz family moved into the house where the Defeo murders took place.  After only 28 days the family fled the house citing that they experienced paranormal activity.  Some of the Lutz's claims included that the house was plagued with flies, a crucifix rotated upside and let off a sour smell, blood oozed from the walls, and other paranormal activity.

The Lutz story was later published as The Amityville Horror: A True Story.  The novel was turned into a movie that eventually lead to a series of films.

 
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Ed Gein was born in Wisconsin in 1906. He is commonly known as The "Plainfield" Ghoul" and "The Mad Butcher".  In 1944 Gein's brother was found dead from head trauma and smoke asphyxiation.  Gein had lead police to the body, but claimed that he had passed away due to a botched burning of a marsh.  The police ruled out fowl play and Gein was never charged with the murder.  Gein had a very close relationship with his mother, and upon her death in 1945 he had lost the one friend in his life.  Gein's began to become more and more withdrawn after his mother's death.  

Gein began to make nocturnal visits to a local cemetery and exhume bodies.  Police did not become aware of his actions until 1957, when a local hardware store owner went missing.  Police eventually suspected Gein and got a search warrant for his home.

When Gein was finally arrested police walked into a horrifying scene.  Inside Gein's house they found: Nine masks made of human skin, human skin covering several chair seats, a belt made of female nipples, two decapitated heads, and several female heads with the tops sawed off.  These freakish discoveries shocked police and 

Gein was found guilty of first degree murder and eventually died in prison 1984

Ed Gein inspired the following films:


 

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