Urban Myths Verified: Legends That Found Reality

By Sophia Maddox | May 9, 2024

The Dog Boy

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According to the folklore of Quitman, Arkansas, The Dog Boy is the ghost of a young man with an unnatural and sinister obsession with dogs. In life, he was said to have kept a large number of dogs at his home, to which he was often abusive. He also abused his elderly father, confining him to the attic of the house until his eventually died. 

The Dog Boy legend is one that had clear roots in real-life events. A man named Gerald Bettis grew up in Quitman, along with a large amount of stray cats and dogs. According to town residents, he would torture them. Local Mary Nell Holabird had this to say about the family:
 

"His parents were good people, but Gerald was a brat, vicious and cruel. He would catch stray animals and torture them. We could hear them howl.  He kept his parents virtually imprisoned in the upstairs part of that house. He would feed them, but only when he decided it was time for them to eat."


Gerald's father died in 1981 from illness, but rumors continued to swirl that he had been thrown down the stairs by his son. Gerald was later arrested - for selling marijuana - and died in jail from drug overdose.

Poison in the Pills

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This campfire story speaks of evildoers who poison aspirin or other easily accessible medications, turning a routine act of seeking relief into a potential death sentence. However, the fear of tampered over-the-counter medicine is not just an urban legend—it has real, horrifying origins. The most infamous and tragic case that fueled this fear happened in the Chicago area in 1982. Over a few days, seven people died after ingesting Tylenol capsules that had been laced with cyanide. This series of poisonings, commonly referred to as the "Tylenol Murders," remains unsolved to this day.

The panic that ensued was nationwide. Millions of bottles of Tylenol were recalled, and the case led to a sweeping change in how consumer products, especially medicines, were packaged. The "Tylenol Murders" were so infamous that they even inspired several copycat and hoax events.