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The media has become obsessed with the so-called “Miami Zombie” case, and for good reason. It sounds like something ripped straight out of a horror movie and brought to life. But these kinds of things seem to occur with a pretty startling frequency.
1. Last Phone Calls
In September of 2008, a Metrolink commuter train running through Chatsworth, CA collided head-on with a freight train, killing 25 people and injuring 135 others.
One of the passengers onboard was Charles Peck, a Delta Airlines employee from Salt Lake City on his way to an interview at Los Angeles’ Van Nuys Airport. Peck had his hopes staked on the job, as his fiancee, Andrea Katz, lived in California and he intended to marry her if he was hired.
When Peck wasn’t found at the wreck or in any local hospitals, Katz and Peck’s family began to hope he might have survived. Then they started getting calls from his cell phone with nothing on the other end but static. The family received 35 separate calls over a 12 hour period that night, leading rescue workers to attempt to trace the phone’s signal in hopes of finding Peck.
What they found was unexpected, however: Charles Peck had died on impact in the crash. To make matters even more eerie, Peck’s cell phone was never located, as the calls coming from it stopped about an hour before his body was found.
2. Actor Slits His Own Throat On Stage
Daniel Hoevels was no stranger to the stage, much less to his current role: That of Mortimer in Mary Stuart, a biographical play about Mary, Queen of Scots. When Mortimer’s plot to free Mary from prison fails, the character kills himself by slitting his own throat. Hoevels had been playing the role for over two years, and had done the scene numerous times. This time, however, something was about to go terribly wrong.
Instead of performing the scene with the usual dulled prop, Hoevels accidentally cut his throat with a real knife. According to some reports, the audience, unaware of the incident, began clapping wildly. Hoevels, luckily, just barely missed his carotid artery and survived.
Rumors quickly spread that the knife had been switched by a jealous rival and that authorities were treating the event as an attempted homicide. These reports were printed in newspapers worldwide, but the theater later denied the stories, saying that the event was an accident. A prop manager had purchased the knife the same day and somehow forgotten to dull the blade. Police also stated that no investigation had occurred as Hoevels had not pressed charges. He returned to his role the following night with stitches and a plaster cast around his neck.
No further details on the event have ever been released.
3. The Stolen Hand
A 47-year-old Indian-born man, identified only by the name Murugesan, had been living as a barber in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur for 16 years, seemingly without incident. One strange encounter in March of 2012 would change that forever, though.
According to Murugesan’s testimony, he was in his shop with a customer one Sunday when two men entered his business. (Murugesan is only reported to have described them as “foreigners.")
Murugesan says that one of the men asked to use his restroom. As Murugesan was directing the man to it, however, the second man came up behind Murugesan and grabbed him, holding him in place. The first man then pulled out a scythe, held out Murugesan’s left hand, and severed it.
Oddest of all, the two men then fled the shop, taking the hand with them. The men’s motives were, and still are, completely unknown, though this has not stopped speculation that they were sent by a competitor to cripple Murugesan or, more gruesomely, that they were cannibals intending to cook and eat the limb.
4. Emails from the Dead
Jack Froese died of a heart arrhythmia in June of 2011 at the age of 32, but that’s just the beginning of the story. Six months later, in November of the same year, Jack’s friends each got an e-mail from his account, signed with his name. According to Froese’s friends, no one knew his passwords or is likely to have hacked his account.
The odd part, however, is the content of the e-mails. One friend received a message imploring him to “clean [his] f---ing attic,” which related to a private conversation he and Froese had had shortly before his death.
While services do exist to deliver e-mails at a predetermined future date, Froese’s unexpected and sudden death makes it unlikely that he used one. On top of that, the e-mail received by his cousin read, in part, “I knew you were gonna break your ankle,” an injury that had occurred only a week before the message arrived.
Jack Froese’s friends and relatives have given up on seeking an explanation for the e-mails.
5. The Cell Phone Stalker
There’s annoying phone calls, and then there’s what happened to three families in Washington State in 2007. The Kuykendall, McKay, and Price families underwent weeks of harassment that went far beyond your typical obnoxious caller.
It started with 16-year-old Courtney Kuykendall’s phone sending texts to her friends that she didn’t write. Then she and her mother and father, Heather and Tim Kuykendall, began receiving disturbing phone calls at all hours from a raspy voice that threatened to slit their throats and kill their pets. This quickly turned even more terrifying when they discovered that the caller seemed to know when they were and weren’t home, who was in the house, what they were doing, and even what they were wearing.
The family began receiving voice mails that consisted of nothing but their own conversations being played back to them. After a talk with a police officer about the harassment, the caller sent the family a recording of the conversation. When the family installed a new security system, the caller was able to tell them the code.
Even odder, the majority of the calls appeared to come from Courtney Kuykendall’s phone, even when it was turned off. Not that the phone being off stopped the caller anyway, as he was apparently capable of turning the phone on and off at will.
The caller also targeted two other families; the family of Darci Price (Heather Kuykendall’s sister) and the McKays (the Kuykendall’s neighbors). Andrea McKay claimed that the caller warned her of a shooting at her daughter’s school and even called and told her “I prefer lemons” while she was cutting limes one day.
Although the Kuykendalls got new phones, numbers, and wireless accounts on three separate occasions, the calls continued to come. The police admitted that they were baffled while the Kuykendalls’ cell phone provider, Sprint, claimed that the events they were describing were impossible. Experts have speculated that the calls might have been the result of some sort of advanced cell phone hacking combined with a close knowledge of the family.