Las Vegas is a town in which a million stories originate per day. With the massive number of people entering and leaving the city every day, it is impossible not to. Then, it is no surprise that Las Vegas is one of the hotspots for unsettling urban legends that continue to gain force as time advances and more cases seem to surge. I have compiled the most famous stories in this post, so you can judge for yourself if you believe them or not. I have to say, I am a rational individual, but knowing what I know about Vegas, it really would not surprise me much if at least half of these accounts are based on actual (spine-chilling) events.
Area 51/Men in Black
Of course, we have to start with the most popular urban legend in all of Las Vegas: the infamous Area 51 and its men in black. Area 51 has always been somewhat of a cultural staple for self-proclaimed UFOlogists and countless UFO fanatics. These people firmly believe that an UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, and the biological and technological remains were taken to Area 51 to be experimented on.
The rumors gained new intensity in 2013, when the CIA actually confirmed that there is a place called Area 51, located in southern Nevada, that conducts “airborne experiments with experimental aircraft.” Plus, there are rumors that a group of high-ranking officials called the Men in Black (yes, the movies were actually inspired by this rumor) are stationed there and take care of handling and shushing any occurrence that might have to do with any sort of extraterrestrial activity or sightings.
Worker Bodies Buried in Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam may be found right on the state line between Nevada and Arizona. It was erected between the years of 1931 and 1935, during the times of the Depression. During its early years, the structure was known as Boulder Dam, and President Roosevelt was the one who officially opened it on September 30, 1935. One of the most noteworthy aspects of this project is that it resulted in the creation of Lake Mead, one of the biggest man-made lakes in the whole world.
A more somber fact about the dam has to do with the number of deaths from which it originated. During the construction of this gigantic structure, an estimated 96–100 employees perished. There is the rumor that due to heat strokes, accidental tumbles, or carbon monoxide poisoning, a number of workers fell when the concrete was being poured in and are now entombed forever in the dam. However, no bodies have ever been found.
Curse of the Megabucks
Every time I run into a Megabucks slot, I constantly fantasize about winning all those millions of dollars and making my dreams come true. But I also think about this urban legend, and I think again about putting my $3 in. The legend says that after hitting it big on the Megabuck slots, many of these new millionaires had tragic demises before they were able to enjoy the money they won. Although representatives of International Game Technology (IGT), the creators of the Megabucks machines and prize distributors, say this rumor is not true, many Megabucks winners are living it up anonymously.
There is a good chance that this legend might have been inspired by the tragic case of Cynthia Jay-Brennan, a woman who hit a prize of $34.9 million only to be left a paraplegic by a drunk truck driver a week later. The accident proved fatal for her sister, who was with her at the time. There have been rumors of winners dying of heart attacks on the spot or dying in plane crashes. At the end of the day, I still put my three dollars in, but I do it with chills coming down my spine.
Body Under the Bed
An urban legend that has actually proven to be true is the one about the body under the bed. According to rumors, a married couple on vacation checks into a hotel, settles into their room, and then suffers through the entire night from a vile odor. When they can’t take it anymore, they inspect the room and discover a dead body stuffed into the mattress. Although the name of the hotel cannot be specified, a similar occurrence happened in 1999.
This legend is actually true not only in Vegas but also in a number of states all across the United States. The most recent case happened on July 10, 2003, at the Capri motel in Kansas City. After complaining about a bad smell for three days, a client checks out of a room. Thinking he was exaggerating, the staff only provided him with air freshener during his stay. After he leaves on July 13, housekeeping makes the gruesome discovery of a decomposing body under the mattress.