The Bizarre Story Of The "Spiderman Of Denver," Who Secretly Lived In An Attic For Nearly A Year

Have you ever worried that someone is secretly living inside your walls? It’s not that uncommon for criminals to live in homes and stores that they burglarize, and there was even a murderer who hid in his victim's attic. If you aren’t up on your facts about Theodore Coneys, known after his arrest as the “Spiderman of Denver,” then get ready to go on a trip down memory lane with Spidey and his victims.

During World War II in Denver, Coneys was nothing more than a sickly grifter looking for a place to stay. He didn’t believe that he could cut it in the normal world, so he hid in a man’s house and beat him to death one day - but that’s only part of the story. Facts in the case about the Spiderman of Denver get weirder as the story goes along and it even kind of has a happy ending.

  • Theodore Coneys Beat A Man To Death

    In the fall of 1941, Theodore Coneys snuck into the home of his one-time acquaintance Philip Peters and began sleeping in his tiny attic. The only times he ventured out were when his unwitting landlord was away. Coneys soon grew bold and began to "shadow" Peters from room to room. He claimed that it was a game he played and it was the first time that he ever felt in control.

    The Spiderman's boldness got the best of him on October 17, 1941, when he took a trip to the kitchen to get a snack. Coneys told the police that he thought Peters had gone out for the day, but he was just taking a nap. Peters must have heard Coneys digging around his kitchen because he got up to investigate. Rather than flee, a startled Coneys began beating the 71-year-old man over the head with a stove shaker. After washing the utensil, he claimed that he ran back to his little room to hide.

  • Coneys Broke Into The Home Of Acquintance Phillip Peters

    Around 1899, a young Coneys had made friends with Phillip Peters, a man who worked at the railroad office. Allegedly, Coneys would dine with Peters and his wife on cold evenings, but Coneys left town and the two didn't see each other again until 1941. In the interim, Coneys drifted around the country as a hobo until he returned to Denver. He started low-key stalking his old friend after Peters refused to give him money. Initially, Coneys planned on robbing the 71-year-old man, but then an opportunity presented itself.

    While keeping tabs on Peters, Coneys watched the old man leave his house one day without locking his back door. Coneys wasn't going to let this opportunity pass him by. As soon as Peters was out of sight, Coneys slipped into the home and made his way around. Intending to rob his old acquaintance, he grabbed as much food and money as he could find before discovering a crawlspace inside a closet. This was an entrance to Peters's attic. Rather than take the money and run, Coneys decided to press his luck and began sleeping in the attic. 

  • The Spiderman Built An Incredibly Disturbing Web

    After the police arrested Coneys, they got a look inside his tiny "apartment." Rather than the spacious attic that most houses had, Peters's attic was described as being slightly larger than a coffin with an entrance that was only a couple of feet wide in diameter. Police reported that the "room" was outfitted with a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling and that Coneys slept on a makeshift bed fashioned from an ironing board. Coneys knew that it wasn't much, but it was home. He told police: "It was miserable hot in the summer and my feet froze in the dead of winter in that attic, but it was all part of the price I was willing to pay. I can't tell you why I stuck it out.  I guess it was mostly because it was a world all my own." 

  • Mrs. Peters Moved Back Into A 'Haunted House' After The Murder

    While the Spiderman was busy murdering Philip Peters and living in his attic, Mrs. Peters was in the hospital with a broken hip. After the widowed Mrs. Peters felt well enough to move back into her house, she couldn't shake the feeling that someone else was there with her. Mrs. Peters brought in a housekeeper to help with the day-to-day chores, but the house never felt safe. They both heard noises in the walls, people claimed that they saw the ghost of Mr. Peters roaming the hall of the home and a rumor spread that the house was haunted. Mrs. Peters allegedly called the police so many times that they wrote her off as a kook and her housekeeper finally left after she realized that the spooky noises weren't going to stop. 

  • The Neighbors Noticed That Something Weird Was Happening In The House

    While living in his coffin sized "apartment," Coneys was known to leave his spider hole and walk around the house. A more seasoned criminal might wait until the dead of night to explore the home of the man he murdered, but Coneys was unique in that he seemed to want someone to find him. 

    Despite reports from Mrs. Peters and people around the neighborhood who claimed that they saw something moving around the house, the police refused to act. Stories of Coneys's capture differentiate here. Some people claim that the police were stationed outside Mrs. Peters's house waiting for something to happen and another source claims that the police were on a "routine inspection." Either way, they noticed someone moving through the house and gave chase. Once inside the house the police easily caught up with Coneys and grabbed him before he could escape into his room. 

  • No One Initially Knew Who Murdered Philip Peters

    It didn't take long for Philip Peters's neighbors to become suspicious when they didn't see him moving around in his home. After finding all of his doors locked, they called the police, who made the gruesome discovery. Even though Coneys claims to have cleaned the murder weapon, the police discovered the shaker and a bloody towel used to wipe it down next to Peters's body, which was lying in a pool of blood, half-clothed.

    The police searched the house and even checked out the hole in the closet ceiling that Coneys used to come and go, but they didn't think that anyone could actually fit in the opening. He later claimed that he was sitting on the makeshift door of the hole while the police searched for him. The police ended their search assuming that the killer must have been a crazed giant who had long since lit out.