11 Utterly Bizarre True Crime Stories That Are Keeping Us Up At Night

Whether it's reading an article, listening to a podcast, or watching a show, it's often the weirdest true crime cases that stick in our minds the longest. While some cases are just plain weird, others can be as equally odd as they are terrifying. Take Carl Tanzler, who kept his beloved's remains in his home for seven years, regularly buying new clothes for her corpse. Then there's Danny LaPlante, who hid in the walls of his date's house and reportedly wore her dead mother's makeup. The world of true crime is full of bizarre stories that can seem too strange to possibly be true, until you realize that they were all real people with real lives that were suddenly upended.

In the list below, we'll explore some of the strangest and creepiest cases throughout true crime history.

  • In The Middle Of The Night In 1939, A Blindfolded Man Stumbled Onto A Highway And Was Struck By A Car

    Around 3 am on December 22, 1939, a blindfolded man stumbled onto a snowy highway in Mishawaka, IN, and was immediately hit by a car and killed. The man turned out to be 44-year-old factory worker Stephen Melkey. Melkey was found with his hands bound behind his back, and both his eyes and mouth had been covered with surgical tape. Inside his mouth, police found a handkerchief covered in red lipstick.

    A police investigation revealed that Melkey had been dropped off by a vehicle about 140 feet from the place he was struck. While initially bound at the ankles, he managed to free his legs and walked blindfolded through the snow before crossing the highway. More perplexing, though, was the parallel set of footprints through the snow, suggesting that the person responsible for tying him up was also following him. Some even theorize that Melkey was pushed onto the road.

    Three suspects were taken into custody, including local tavern waitress Bertte DeVos and her fiance Allan Polomskey. Melkey and DeVos reportedly had some sort of relationship that made Polomskey jealous, and he'd been seen fighting with Melkey prior to his passing. Another man involved with DeVos, George Smith, had also argued with Melkey before the incident. While all three were questioned, none of the tire tracks from their cars were determined to match those of the car that dropped off Melkey. No one was ever apprehended and Melkey's case remains unsolved.

  • Brian Wells Showed Up To Rob A Bank With A Bomb Around His Neck
    Photo: Evil Genius / Nextflix

    Brian Wells Showed Up To Rob A Bank With A Bomb Around His Neck

    On August 28, 2003, a man walked into a Pennsylvania bank and handed a note to the teller demanding $250,000. The note also warned that a bomb would go off if he didn't get the money.

    Leaving the bank with just $8,000, the man was surrounded by police, and revealed himself to be Brian Wells, a pizza delivery driver who had been forced to rob the bank. He claimed the device around his neck was a bomb, and it eventually went off in front of police and media, killing Wells. Police soon uncovered detailed instructions in Wells's car of actions he'd need to complete to turn off the bomb, including the bank heist. But they determined that there was no way that Wells could've possibly finished all the tasks before the device exploded.

    Authorities would later attribute the plot to three people: Majorie Diehl-Armstrong, Kenneth Barnes, and William Rothstein. After Wells's death, Rothstein turned on Diehl-Armstrong, even leading police to a body he'd kept in his freezer for her - that of her ex-boyfriend James Roden. Investigators believe Diehl-Armstrong killed Roden after he threatened to inform police about the impending bank heist. Diehl-Armstrong was alleged to be the mastermind of the robbery, reportedly needing the money so she could have a hit taken out on her father, who she wrongly believed to be wealthy. 

    For her part, Diehl-Armstrong claimed that Rothstein was the real brains of the operation. Debate remains on whether Brian Wells had any involvement in the plot or not. Diehl-Armstrong was eventually sentenced to life in prison in 2011. She passed in prison and was buried in an unmarked grave in 2017. The complicated case gained attention the same year with the release of a Netflix docuseries centering on Diehl-Armstrong, Evil Genius.

  • A Teen Boy Lived In The Walls Of A Family's Home For Weeks

    In 1986, a girl named Annie Andrews went on a date with a boy named Danny LaPlante, who said he was a friend of a friend. Andrews and LaPlante had only talked on the phone, but LaPlante described himself as a tall, handsome athlete. When the two met for ice cream, LaPlante looked completely different and had a disheveled appearance. After the date, Andrews stopped answering his calls.

    Annie Andrews and her sister, Jessica, had recently lost their mother to cancer, and performed a séance in their basement to contact her spirit. When they heard knockings on the wall, they believed their house was haunted. In the coming weeks, there would be more knocks on the wall, furniture moved, and messages written on the walls in what appeared to be blood. Their father, Brian Andrews, reportedly came face-to-face with LaPlante, who was holding a hatchet and wearing his deceased wife's makeup.

    When police finally investigated the home, they found that Danny LaPlante had been living in the walls for weeks. He'd even cut holes in the wall to spy on Annie. He would move things when the family wasn't home and wrote messages on the walls in ketchup to scare them. LaPlante was taken to a juvenile facility, but was arrested the following year for the murder of a different family.

  • Donna Doll Mysteriously Ingested 5 To 6 Pounds Of Potatoes Before Her Death

    Donna Doll was last seen leaving her job at the school library on October 2, 1970, before disappearing. Doll was a 21-year-old senior at Northern Illinois University who was studying Russian and planned to be a teacher. Doll's remains were found in a cornfield about a mile from the university nine days after she went missing.

    The coroner marked her cause of death as suffocation with a bag or pillow, but something didn't add up. To begin with, even though the COD was suffocation, no fibers were found in Doll's mouth. Furthermore, there were "mystery substances" found in her system that couldn't be identified. Perhaps the oddest finding was that Doll had apparently eaten 5 to 6 pounds of potatoes before she was murdered.

    Doll's killer has never been identified and the case remains open.