Terrifying Tales Inspired By True Events

Laghima Pandey

Our imagination can come up with different horror stories to tell other people and present in a creative way. But these tales or novels get twice as scarier if they are based on true events. There are many famous, creepy tales that actually happened in real life. It may seem too terrifying to be real but sometimes it is. Here are 7 terrifying tales inspired by true events-


American Horror Story: Hotel (Season 5)

From the assassination attempt on Andy Warhol in Season 7 to many historical freak show characters found in Season 4, many moments in American Horror Story history draw on real events. However, the story that inspired this season is probably the creepiest. Based on Chicago serial killer H.H. Holmes, Evan Peters’ character James March also built a hotel with secret rooms and trap doors used for ensnaring and viciously murdering his guests. 



This 2018 film is based on actual events. The real-life heiress, Sarah Winchester, was one of the richest women in America and spent 38 years having her Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California, perpetually built up. Legend has it, Winchester believed she was cursed and needed to continuously build up the house to avoid the tortures of her curse. Today, tourists can walk the house and look out for many of its staircases that don’t lead anywhere.


Annabel Lee

One of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poems is “Annabel Lee,” the story of two young lovers who were separated by family disapproval and eventually death. There are many theories as to who Poe based Annabel Lee after, but most people assume it was his wife Virginia, who, just like in the poem, he loved as a child, married and eventually lost to an untimely death.




Stephen King is infamous for pulling occurrences in his own life into his novels, but many believe the main inspiration for the 1986 novel It was derived from a real-life serial killer clown. John Wayne Gacy killed 33 people in Chicago in the 1970s, however, as his day job he dressed up as Pogo The Clown and attended children’s birthday parties.



Frankenstein is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley. She traveled around Europe where she learned about Germany’s Frankenstein Castle, the birthplace of alchemist Johann Conrad Dippel, who is thought to have created an elixir of life as well as experimented on dead bodies during his work. The story is also thought to have been inspired by the works of Giovanni Aldini, who publicly demonstrated how electricity can flow through the nerves of a dead body in the early 1800s.



Scream is easily one of the best ’90s horror flicks. However, most people don’t realize it was directly inspired by true events. In 1990, Danny Rolling, better known as the Gainesville Ripper, murdered five students in Gainesville, Florida, over the course of four days after breaking into their homes.



The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Two major events are thought to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s iconic tale. The author initially had a fascination with Deacon William Brodie, whom he eventually wrote a play about. Brodie was a city councilman who doubled as a cat burglar at night. Later, Stevenson would be compelled to write his tale because of trial of Eugene Chantrelle: a French teacher and friend of Stevenson who murdered his wife to get insurance money.