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The Creepiest Unexplained Stories In America

Posted by Jacob Shelton

Source | Posted On December 04, 2021 at 05:18 PM | Like  1

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Ax murderers! Serial killers on the loose! Sounds that will drive men to madness! You’ll find all that and more on this list of the creepiest unexplained stories from the US. America has only been around for a little over 200 years, but in that short amount of time, we’ve managed to build up a considerable amount of spooky phenomena and mysterious events.


Creepy unexplained stories in America tend to rest heavily on unsolved murders or unexplainable deaths, and at times, it seems like an answer is waiting for us just out of reach. None of the stories on this list contain any answers, and the tales that do seem to tie themselves up tend to do so with a string of messy questions.


These creepy American stories come from all over the United States, proving that there’s not one area that’s more susceptible to strange crime than any other - except for New Jersey. That place is a weirdo hot-spot. If you’re an amateur sleuth, there are certainly a few ongoing cases on this list of American unexplained stories that could use your expertise. Just make sure to call your mom before you go venturing into the dark marshes of hidden America.

The Zodiac Killer

The Zodiac Killer is arguably the most famous unsolved collection of serial killings that America has ever experienced. No other crime spree, save for the Jack the Ripper murders of the 19th century, has captured the imaginations of gawkers, copycats, and conspiracy theorists in the way that the Zodiac did.

Depending on which timeline you follow, the Zodiac's murder spree either began in 1963 or 1968 when a mysterious killer began gunning down couples and taunting the police with letters that featured a hard-to-crack cipher. The murders abruptly ended in the '70s, but wild theories about the killer's identity persist to this day.

The Cleveland Torso Murders

In 1934, Cleveland (and the surrounding Ohio area) was besieged with a series of vicious murders identified only by the body parts left behind in their wake: torsos. Beginning with the torso of a woman that washed up on the shore of Lake Erie, a four-year wave of fear and body parts spread over the city, centralized in Kingsbury Run, a poor neighborhood where families with nowhere to live set up shantytowns.

After the Lady of the Lake was discovered, two castrated men were found, followed by the remains of a woman tucked inside two baskets, and the body of a tattooed man who had been drained of all his blood. In 1938, the police burned Kingsbury Run to the ground in order to flush out the killer, and although they arrested a bricklayer named Frank Dolezal (who was later found hanging in a jail cell), he was exonerated in 2010 by new evidence released by Cuyahoga Community College. The murders stopped after the violent police raid, but the killer was never caught.

The Cecil Hotel Water Tank Mystery

In 2013, Elisa Lam checked into the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, a building that's played host to serial killers, ghosts, and more. No one knows why Lam, a college student from Vancouver, was staying in one of LA's seediest hotels, but a video of her final moments provides some insight into her mental state.

Some have theorized that she was being chased by an unseen prowler, while others believe that Lam was the victim of a ghost of the Cecil hotel. Whatever the case, when Lam was found floating in a water tank on top of the Cecil more than two weeks after she went missing, the police ruled her death an accidental drowning. The Cecil was rebranded as the "Stay On Main" in 2016, but the mystery of Elisa Lam, and the rest of The Cecil's inhabitants, lives on.

The Long Island Serial Killer

The Long Island Serial Killer is the name given to an unknown murderer who used the marshes along the remote Ocean Parkway on Long Island, NY, which stretches 15 miles along the coast of Nassau and Suffolk counties, as a dumping ground for his victims. Since 1996, there have been several bodies (and, in some cases, body parts) found that have been linked to the killer. Nearly all of the victims have been female sex workers. Police estimate that there have been at least 11 victims of the Long Island Serial Killer because it has been difficult to conclusively tie all the crimes together.

The most recent possible victim was the 2013 murder of a 31-year-old woman Natasha Jugo, whose body was spotted floating in the ocean months after her car was discovered near Ocean Parkway. There are many theories about the crimes, including that there are multiple killers, and the local police might be covering up a larger conspiracy. In December 2015, the FBI joined the investigation into the crimes following allegations that the Suffolk County Police Department was improperly handling the case. For now, many questions remain unanswered.

The Texarkana Moonlight Murders

Modern-day Texarkana lazily stretches across the border of Texas and Arkansas. Both sides of the town are crisscrossed with railway lines, and even during football season, it feels desolate. In 1946, its precarious geography and largely poor population made it the perfect place for a brutal killing spree.

Over the course of three months, four violent attacks were perpetrated. Three of the slayings happened at a local Lovers' Lane on the Texas side of the town, while the final act occurred in a farmhouse on the Arkansas side. The unseen perpetrator became known as The Phantom Killer, and with just four murders, they gripped an entire town in a fear that still resonates to this day.

The Axeman Of New Orleans

From 1918-1919, everyone in New Orleans was gripped in fear that they would be the next victim of The Axeman. In a little over a year, the mysterious Axeman killed at least six people and injured six more.

Many sleuths have tried to nail down the identity of The Axeman, with the most prevailing theory being that the murders were mob-related due to each victim being Italian. But a letter from The Axeman written in 1919 states otherwise. It reads:

"They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman. Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people. Here it is:"

"I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe."

The Doodler

From 1974 to 1975, a serial killer dubbed "The Doodler" (for his penchant for sketching his victims prior to their murder) stalked the gay nightclubs of San Francisco. Police are still unsure of his total victim count, but believe it could be as high as 14. Despite closing in on a suspect, the few survivors of The Doodler's attacks refused to testify for fear of outing themselves as being gay.

Little is known about the perpetrator of the Doodler murders, likely because of the stigma placed on homosexuality in the early '70s and because most of the people who survived that horrific time in San Francisco would just like to forget that the murders ever happened.

The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders

Over the course of seven violent years, one unknown killer murdered at least seven women and dumped their naked bodies in a creek bed.

The murders began when Maureen Sterling and Yvonne Weber, two twelve-year-old middle school students, went missing after visiting the Redwood Empire Ice Arena in February 1972. Their skeletal remains were discovered ten months later off a remote road north of Santa Rosa. There are theories that Ted Bundy may have been responsible for the killings, but the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker murders have also been tied to the Zodiac Killer and The Hillside Stranglers.

The Mysterious Case Of Jeannette DePalma

In 1972, a dog reportedly brought home the dismembered arm of Jeannette DePalma, a teenage girl who had been missing from her Springfield, NJ home for six weeks. When police investigated the quarry where the arm was recovered, they allegedly stumbled upon a ritualistic altar that had been used in the girl's murder. For decades, residents of the town have done their best to forget the tragic death of the young woman, and multiple anonymous sources allege that she was the victim of a satanic ritual featuring animal carcasses and a series of arrows carved into trees.

However, in January 2021, WeirdNJ.com - a site that brought DePalma's case to wider public consciousness in 1997 - announced they had been granted access to the slain woman's case file, which had strangely been reported as missing following a flood at the police station. Detailed photos of the crime scene revealed that all the supposed occult elements of DePalma's death were either grossly exaggerated or outright fabricated. It is unclear why contemporary newspapers reported such details, nor why officials claimed DePalma's case file had been lost. Furthermore, a clear motive for DePalma's murder remains to be seen.

Numerous other questions linger as well. The newly released documents also revealed that the contents of DePalma's purse were found near her body, but neither the purse itself nor DePalma's cross necklace were ever recovered. It appears the young woman either walked with someone to the spot where her body was found, or she was carried there. Police also discovered a clear vial containing an "unknown substance," but there is no indication the substance was tested in any capacity. Skin samples from DePalma's body were reportedly submitted for narcotics tests, but apparently the samples were not viable, and no further samples were ever submitted.

A woman known only as Robin stated that she picked up a hitchhiker that resembled DePalma on the night she disappeared. According to Robin, the young woman said very little, and after exiting the vehicle, walked toward a group of young people, telling Robin they were her friends.

No cause of death has ever been determined, and while listed as suspicious, DePalma's death has never been officially ruled a homicide.

The Rise Of The Coast Fiend

Between 1931 and 1938, a series of seemingly random murders gripped the city with fear, leaving people to wonder if their idyllic coastal town had become a home to the devil. Over the course of seven years, at least six women between the ages of 10 and 67 were stabbed, strangled, and beaten to death while the San Diego police stood around and scratched their heads.

Despite the varying modus operandi, the police believed these murders to be the work of one killer, although they were never able to pinpoint a suspect.

The Jamison Family Disappearance

In 2009, while looking to purchase a 40-acre plot of land near Red Oak, OK, Bobby Dale, Sherilynn Leighann, and daughter Madyson Stormy Star Jamison mysteriously disappeared. A few days after their disappearance, their abandoned truck was found near Kinta, OK, with their malnourished dog, their IDs, a GPS system, and $32,000 in cash.

Several theories about their disappearance were floated that involved everything from a drug deal gone bad to the Jamisons faking their death to a cult and even the possibility of the family being driven crazy by ghosts haunting their house. Four years after the discovery of their truck, two hunters found the skeletal remains of the Jamison family less than three miles away from where their vehicle had been parked. No cause of death could be determined due to the decomposed state of their bodies.

The Hall-Mills Murders

In 1922, the bodies of Reverend Edward Wheeler Hall and Eleanor Rinehardt Mills, a choir singer and parishioner at the Reverend's church, were found beneath a crab apple tree in Somerset County, NJ. They'd both been shot in the head, and the minister’s dead hand was placed beneath the choir singer’s shoulder and neck. The area around the bodies was strewn with love notes written by the married Mrs. Mills to the also married preacher.

The only witness to the mysterious murder was Jane Gibson, a woman known locally as the "Pig Woman." Gibson was a pig farmer and her testimony led to the arrest and trial of Hall's wife for the crimes, but she didn't get such a cruel nickname without a reason: people around town thought she was crazy. In particular, she was known to tell tall tales.

Adding an extra layer of strange to this story is the fact that Gibson was dying of cancer during the proceedings, and every day she would be wheeled into the courtroom on a hospital bed and tell her story while her 76-year-old mother sat in the front row, whispering, "She's a liar." Because of Gibson's shaky story, the Reverend's wife was cleared of all charges and the murders of Edward Wheeler Hall and Eleanor Mills remain unsolved.

The Murder Of Stephanie Crowe

On the night of January 20, 1998, Stephanie Crowe, a 12-year-old girl from Escondido, CA, was stabbed eight times in her bedroom by an unknown assailant. When police arrived, they noticed that there were no signs of forced entry in the home, but there were also no knives matching the murder weapon anywhere. Initially, they believed that Stephanie's 14-year-old brother killed her, but after performing an interrogation without either his parents or an attorney present, the entire thing had to be thrown out.

After being declared factually innocent (over a decade later), the police turned their investigation towards a schizophrenic transient man who had been seen in the neighborhood on the night of Stephanie's death. He was later tried and found to be not guilty.

The Disappearance Of Anna Christian Waters

Anna Christian Waters was five years old when she disappeared from Purisima Canyon, a rural area near Half Moon Bay, CA. One day after school Walters's mother heard her daughter go outside and begin talking to someone, although she can't remember who, and when she went to check on the girl, she was gone.

One theory is that Anna accidentally fell into a creek near her house and drowned, but Anna's mother believes that the girl's biological father had something to do with her disappearance. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic soon after Anna's birth and began living with a man who called himself George Brody. Brody was obsessed with Anna and believed she was the reincarnation of a woman he had once lived with. Nothing has ever been proven, though, and Anna was never found.

The Dean Corll Child Murders

Even though the murders Dean Corll committed were technically "solved," there's still a lot of questions about his crimes that are never going to be answered because the child killer was shot to death by one of his accomplices during his final act.

No one will ever know exactly how many teenage boys Corll savagely raped and murdered in the 1970s, or as many people believe, if he began his spree prior to the accepted start date. To make matters more frustrating, the putrefied bodies of Corll's victims that were recovered may have been returned to the wrong families for burial. Everything about the mass murders in Houston is unsettling and horrifying.

Robert The Living Doll

The only thing creepier than a regular doll is a living doll, and Robert the Living Doll might be the creepiest of them all. Robert's first foray into the world of terror was when he allegedly attacked a young boy who was sleeping in his room one night in Key West, FL. But where did Robert get this impetus to frighten and destroy?

In 1898, a servant of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Otto who was well-versed in the art of voodoo grew tired of the constant violent attacks from her bosses, so she infused a straw doll with the pain and anger of an entire household of maligned workers. Supposedly, the family would often hear their son talking to someone upstairs, and when they would check on him it would just be the boy and the doll chatting.

The Mummies Of Newark

In 1959, the cemetery of a Newark, NJ church dating back to the 1600s was paved over in order to make a parking lot for the New Jersey Devils Hockey Arena. When the lot was excavated by a group of researchers, they discovered two iron sarcophagi holding the remains of bodies dating back to around the 1850s.

If that's not weird enough, the bodies were nowhere near each other, which means that there were two people in Newark with enough dough to spend on being buried like a pharaoh and they probably didn't know each other. The researchers have yet to determine the identities of either body.

The Taos Hum

Taos, NM, isn't the only place where a mysterious hum has been heard, but usually, only two percent of people in any given "hum" area can actually hear the mysterious sound. After setting up equipment in the homes of those who reportedly heard the sound, researchers found that there were multiple hums on various frequencies.

Theories about what causes the hum range from extraterrestrials to paranormal activity and possible CIA mind control experiments. Hums have been recorded all over the planet, and most of them are at spots where the earth's polarity gets a little wonky. And at least one person has committed suicide after listening to the hum nonstop. Even though no one has ever recorded the hum, an approximation was created for an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

The Cursed Ring Of Rudolph Valentino

Rudolph Valentino was a major star and total babe of the silent film era who starred in films like The Sheik and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. When Valentino died due to complications from an appendectomy, rumors of arsenic poisoning began to circulate, but another theory posits that Valentino was cursed.

In 1920, he bought a ring from a San Francisco jeweler who told him that everyone who wore the ring found nothing but bad luck (then why sell it, some might ask?). Valentino wore the ring on the set of The Young Rajah, which turned out to be his biggest flop ever, and it kept him off the screen for two years. He didn't wear the ring again until a trip to New York, where he suffered an acute attack of appendicitis, and the rest is history.