Sometimes it’s a massive hotel on a Vegas strip. Sometimes it’s a “no-tell motel” in an unheard-of town. Yes, there might be body under the bed. Motel beds seem to be a makeshift morgue for tourists.
The legend usually states that a family checks into a hotel. They try to go to sleep, but a foul smell prevents any rest. It eventually becomes too powerful to sleep. They either check under the bed themselves, or summon a hotel employee to check, but there is a decaying corpse below the mattress.
Family vacations and holidays are supposed to be restful, but you might want to check under the bed before you kick back and relax. Many people believe this urban legend began in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the rumor has circulated for decades. These discoveries have occurred several times, but never in Vegas.
The oldest account is in New Jersey in 1982. Three men were into an auto theft business. Two of them wanted to get rid of the third man, so they fed him a poisoned hamburger in their motel room. The poison wasn’t effective, so one of the men just strangled him. The corpse was shoved under the bed and wasn’t discovered until 4 days later.
Two drug dealers checked into a Maryland motel in 1987. Unfortunately, one of them carried balloons filled with heroine in his body. He swallowed over 30 and 1 burst. His partner grew scared and shoved his body under the bed.
In New York, a woman’s body was found inside a box spring in 1988. She’d been dead for days and patrons had slept with the corpse in the room for at least two nights. Virginia murderer Jerry Lee Dunbar strangled both of his victims and stashed their bodies under the beds in two different motels in 1989. This happened twice in Florida in 1994. A woman’s body was found under a mattress in California in 1996. She’d been dead 10 days before they found her. Again in Missouri, the guest had stayed in the room for 3 days in 2003.
The worst-case scenario was realized in 2010. A woman’s body was found beneath a bed in a Memphis motel room. She’d been dead 47 days before her body was discovered inside the mattress. The room she’d lived in had been rented and occupied numerous times during those 7 weeks.
The one common symptom of every case was a powerful smell in the room.