For a short time, I worked at a motel. I won’t say the name, I feel like it’ll be easy enough to figure out which one by the time you reach the end of this post, but I will say that it takes a special type of person to work in the motel environment. Room turnovers are high and cleaning duties are often ignored due to this fact. Most of the employees at the motel I worked at had the mildest sense of a work ethic, the rest couldn’t be bothered, but you can’t clean almost two hundred rooms in pristine fashion if you don’t care. That’s kind of where today’s post takes a darker turn.
While I was employed at the motel, I came to realize that there were lots of things happening behind those closed doors that I never thought would be. Prostitution, pill scams, abuses of people and drugs, you name it, the motel catered to that clientele. It was rundown, desperately in need of exterior and interior painting, and every bathroom in that place needed sandblasting. I’m not here today to talk about the problems at this particular hotel, but I am going to discuss one particularly grotesque urban legend once again making the rounds online and by word of mouth. It’s titled, “The Body Under the Bed.”
When you pay for 2 guests, but someone’s forgotten to check out…
Imagine for a moment that you’ve just checked into your motel on the Vegas strip. It’s a beautiful evening and you and your significant other are taking a much needed vacation to celebrate your wedding anniversary. The staff at the front desk was friendly and, as you walk to your room, unlock the door with your keycard, and set your bags inside, you notice the room is actually quite nice. It’s nice, aside from a strange odor you can’t quite place. You and your partner check the garbage for leftover food, you pull out all the drawers in search of discarded waste, but you find nothing. You put in a call to the front desk.
The desk clerk, friendly as ever, apologizes profusely for the inconvenience and offers to have housekeeping come to your room to do a thorough cleaning. There are no other rooms available that he could move you into. You say that’s fine. You wanted to do some gambling and grab a bite to eat. You tell the clerk you’ll be back in two or three hours and exit your room.
You return at the aforementioned time and throw open your room door. The smell lingers. It’s like sour milk and a damp blanket that had been left to mildew had a disgusting, putrefying baby. You once again call the desk. You get the same answer. The clerk again apologizes and offers to call around to other hotels and motels to see if there is any availability. He hangs up, but calls back shortly thereafter saying every other place is booked. He offers again for housekeeping to tidy the room. You agree. You need a place to sleep and the car is out of the question, so you try to manage as best you can, opening all the windows. Housekeeping replaces all the towels, linens, pillows, and draperies. Once they leave, the smell from the cleaning chemicals they’ve used lingers long enough for you and your other half to get to sleep.
In the morning, you awake to the phantom smell. It’s stronger than before, even with the windows open. You decide you can’t stay another minute, pack your belongings, and leave the motel.
The manager examines the room later in the day, after housekeeping has done its work. Everything is in its place, right down to the towels folded to industry specifications, but there’s still a smell. The manager, frustrated by the situation, tears the room apart. As he’s standing in front of the bed, looking at the war torn scene around him, he decides to flip the mattress. It’s worth a shot.
He removes the mattress and is instantly hit with the smell of something rotting. He can see nothing, so he lifts the box spring. Shrinking back in horror, the manager comes face to face with the decaying remains of a woman, hidden beneath the box spring.
In the hotel/motel industry, mattresses aren’t flipped very often, making them an opportune place to stash a corpse.
This may be an urban legend, but it seems as if every urban legend is rooted in some sort of fact. This legend is no exception. The location chosen for this particular tale, Las Vegas, otherwise known as Sin City, is also the setting for the kidney snatcher urban legend. What happens in Vegas…
In 2003, a body was found beneath a mattress in at Capri Motel in Kansas City, Missouri (reported by Fox News). Police were called to the motel after cleaning crews found the body of a man that appeared to have been dead for several days. The body was only found after repeated complaints from guests about the smell.
In Memphis at the Budget Inn, a mother who disappeared in January of 2010 was found under a hotel mattress, two months after she was reported missing. Sony Millbrook had been renting the room, but had stopped making payments. The motel boxed up her belongings and continued to rent the room. That’s protocol in many hotels and motels. It had been rented numerous times before her body was finally found by cleaning staff. According to Memphis Police Deputy Chief of investigative services, Joseph Scott, the case was “stranger than fiction” (Daily Mail). He’d never heard of anything like this happening before.
In November of last year, a body was found under a hotel bed in Mexico City. A woman had checked into Hotel El Senador one week prior to her body being found. The mattresses in the hotel were set on top of square bases that could be easily lifted. The body had been wrapped in plastic and stashed under the base of the bed and was eventually found by cleaning staff. However, the room had been rented at least a half a dozen times prior to the remains being found.
In Pattaya, Thailand, in August of last year, several couples had stayed in a hotel room with the recently deceased. A woman’s body had been stashed under a mattress for roughly 10 days prior to being found. The victim was identified as 28-year-old Amphon Kongsong, a transgender woman who had checked into the room on behalf of two teenagers. Shortly after they had settled into the room, it is speculated that one of the teens strangled Kongsong following an argument, then the two hid her body under the mattress, and left the hotel. A maid noticed “blood and a strong smell” coming from under the mattress, but only after the room had been rented several times.
Reports of found bodies go back farther than 1994 and accounts of recent found remains don’t seem to be letting up. Luckily, the only disgusting find I’d had during my time in the motel industry was a pile of mummified fried chicken. I guess some people don’t realize that’s not what the cool side of the mattress is good for. We didn’t have mini fridges, so I suppose it was the motel’s bad. Perhaps the tale of the body under the bed began as an urban legend, but it seems to have grown in both popularity and practice.
Do you have a hotel/motel horror story from your city or town? Let us know in the comments or drop an email to email@example.com.
Your fellow Haunt Head,
Tweet us @hauntheadscast
Facebook: Haunt Heads Podcast