Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

True tales of Halloween terror

As violent and horrible as they sound, you must remember that the following are chronicles of true events collected from respected, factual publications. These terrifying stories reveal the depravity and horror that reside in the dark corners of our world and within the human soul.

According to sources at the Columbine Psychiatric Center, Enoch Pratt Hospital, Ridgeview Center for Dissociative Disorders and other hospitals nationwide, patients suffering from schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder are “increasingly suicidal (and) increasingly agitated” in the days leading up to Halloween.

Does the scientific evidence from these psychiatric studies surprise you? In an era that predated modern science by 2,000 years, the druids believed that Halloween actually existed outside of time. They believed our world merged with the world of the dead. They built fires for protection from the darkness, offered sacrifices and begged the gods for safety and mercy.

In this post-modern age we scoff at such superstition. People wake up on Oct. 31 expecting to have a normal day. The people in these stories did. They prepared their costumes for a night of parties and trick-or-treating, just like you.

These unfortunate souls were completely unaware of the hell they were fast approaching, the gruesome misfortune lurking just beyond the darkness of All Hallows’ Eve. But these macabre, terrifying things actually happened. These stories are true, every one of them. So skeptics beware – pray to God you don’t make the headlines.

Deadly Decoration (The Associated Press, 2005)

On a morning in late October, a Delaware woman finished her breakfast and walked a quarter-mile to a yard that was decorated extensively for Halloween. She climbed a tree, up to a branch 15 feet off the ground. She carefully fastened a noose around her neck, tied the other end to the branch, and then, without hesitation, she jumped.

Police never discovered why the 42-year-old woman chose to kill herself or why she did it in such a chilling fashion, but for hours on end passers-by thought her suspended corpse was a Halloween decoration. Cars drove by; trick-or-treaters walked past on

the sidewalk.

Bodies can twitch or stiffen hours after they die. Escaping gases can cause a corpse to emit low moans. Eventually neighbors realized that this tasteless decoration was a little too real – but by that time the body had hanged in a suburban front lawn for the better part of a day.

The voices got louder and louder … (The Miami Herald, 1988)

On the afternoon of Oct. 31, Kathryn Jamnicki gave her mother, Hannah Upton, a cryptic warning. Jamnicki said that the voices in her head were getting louder and louder. She said she couldn’t get them to stop. Jamnicki, 26, had a history of mental illness, linked to abuse and trauma she experienced during her childhood. At 8 p.m., just after nightfall on All Hallows’ Eve, Kathryn Jamnicki picked up a knife from her kitchen. Later that night she would describe to authorities the shrieking she heard.

“It’s warm under the ground,” the voices said. “Till death do us part. It’s warm under the ground. Kill Mom.”

Jamnicki attacked her mother with the butcher knife, plunging it into Upton’s chest several times, then ran from the house to a nearby canal. A witness saw Upton run from the house, clutching her chest.

“I’m dead, I’m dead!” Upton screamed twice, then fell to the ground. Police found Jamnicki sitting by a canal with the knife stuck in the ground next to her.

“The voices are too loud,” she said. “I can’t stop them anymore.”

She was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic and found not guilty of murder.

The Prank (The New York Times, 1885)

Richard Stone, George Stone, Charles Meich, Thomas Evans and Charles Crozier ran a butcher shop in New York more than a century ago. Business was struggling, but no one knows what possessed these men to perform such a gruesome prank on a rival butcher’s store. On Halloween of 1885 they broke into a nearby medical college and stole two corpses: one male, one female. The male was discovered the next morning, hanging by his chin from a metal hook in the rival butcher’s display window. The female body was found later, partially dissected, in a nearby alley. Faced with prison time, the men claimed they didn’t taint their competitor’s produce. But for reasons unknown, the trial was never concluded and much of the missing “meat” was never accounted for.

The candy-coated killing (The New York Times, 1975)

Timothy O’Bryan was 8 years old when his father, Ronald, gave him a candy straw on Halloween. The straw was filled with cyanide. Timothy died that night and his father collected $30,000 from the child’s life insurance.

Afterward, Ronald O’Bryan was charged with murder and sentenced to die in the electric chair. The prison chaplain stated that “(O’Bryan)’s done quite a bit of crying (while on death row). He reads his Bible.”

During the trial, O’Bryan’s wife said he beat his fists against the wall and shouted questions aloud about why an 8-year-old had to die. “But,” she added, “I did not see any tears.”

The Fog (The New York Times, 1973)

Late in the evening on Halloween of 1973, a heavy fog inexplicably rolled onto the New Jersey turnpike. This freak occurrence caused a “series of flaming collisions” which involved 65 automobiles. Nine people died before the fog lifted, and 40 others were injured.

The Drive-by (The New York Times, 1994)

On Halloween evening of 1994, Deborah Bush was in her Pasadena home, handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. She heard the characteristic sounds of automatic gunfire coming from down the street. She ran outside and saw six children in costume lying in a neighboring yard.

Bush, a trained policewoman faced with a crisis, reverted to her training and dropped to her knees to check the nearest body for signs of life as some of the others writhed in pain. The youth was visibly dead, so she moved on to the next child. To her horror, she discovered that the second victim was her own son.

Involuntarily, he spit up blood on her face, then leaned his head back and died. The killings turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. The drive-by shooting was in retaliation for a gang-related murder that had happened earlier that evening.

Faced with stalking and intimidation, several witnesses retracted their testimonies and no one was ever convicted in the murder.

The Wilding (The Boston Globe, 1990)

Kimberly Rae Harbour’s body was discovered Nov. 1 in a field in Dorchester, Mass. The night before, Halloween night, something compelled eight teenagers, some as young as 14, to attack the woman with knives, broken bottles and a tree branch.

“I haven’t seen anything this bad in 15 years,” said court probation officer Billy Stewart. “You’re talking major-league wilding here. You’re talking animal here, pure vicious.”

The Boston Globe quoted sources saying that Harbour was stabbed more than 100 times, raped and jumped on repeatedly. The damage was so extensive that her family dressed her in a long-sleeved blouse, a wig and gloves for the wake.

No motivation was discovered for the attack. The teenagers bragged about it the next day.

The Letters (The Washington Post, 1991)

Eleven-year-old Mary Stiles disappeared on Halloween night from her apartment complex in Baytown, Texas. The police were called and an extensive search went on for days, but the child was not found. Rumors abounded that she was the victim of a satanic cult.

A week later police received a note revealing the location of her body, instructing them to “Find her and give her a decent burial.” She had been stabbed four times in the neck and one of her own socks had been stuffed down her throat.

A few days later, the police received another note: “The game begins now,” it read. “If correct answers are given the name will appear; if incorrect answers are given, the price will be a life.”

Over the next few weeks, the killer taunted the police with letters. He sent them riddles and threatened to kill again if the correct answers weren’t printed on the front page of the newspaper.

“This time has passed from long ago, but a name remains,” the first riddle read. “The name of the weigher of the heart against the truth of the feather – The Genesis in this name holds the letter that belongs to mine. Twice do I write this, when my signature is written, once in the first and once in the last.”

The police enlisted an expert in mythology and ancient religion to help decode the riddles. He correctly answered this one: Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead.

In the letters, the murderer referred to himself as “The Madman.” He warned police: “Do not make me angry again!!!”

The game continued for nearly six weeks, until police spotted a boy on a bike suspiciously dropping letters in a Baytown mailbox.

The killer turned out to be 16-year-old Joseph Fordham. He had killed three young girls in all. He was imprisoned, and then released in 1994.

In 1998 he was returned to prison for violating probation and, as of 2002, he remained incarcerated.