UFOs, zombie bugs and creepy clowns: 5 stories perfect for Halloween
Last week, As It Happens brought you the person behind internet dance sensation Dancing Pumpkin Man and the psychology behind people's fear of spiders — but we don't save all our spooky stuff for the Halloween season.
From the paranormal to the scientific, here's a look back at our weirdest, wildest and most Halloweeny stories from the last year.
Is there anything creepier than a motel filled with clowns? How about a motel filled with clowns in the desert next to a graveyard?
"It's like any other motel, except for the fact that it has been called the scariest motel in the United States," Bob Perchetti, owner of The Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nev., told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann in July.
Generally, the people who come to stay at the motel are clown lovers — but that's not always the case.
"I've had people come in to get a room and register and, all of the sudden, they kind of scream and get anxiety and say, 'Oh my God, I can't stay in here,'" Perchetti said.
The establishment — which is next door to a historic cemetery where miners were buried in the early 1900s — is for sale.
For $1.1 million, it could be yours — 600 clowns included.
Dollhouse murder scenes
Earlier this month, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington put on an exhibition of meticulously detailed dollhouse murder scenes.
The haunting, blood-stained miniatures were created by Frances Glessner Lee — a.k.a. "The godmother of forensic sciences" — who used them in the 1930s to train detectives on how to spot clues in crime scenes.
At the time, women weren't allowed to go medical school, so she used her domestic skills to pursue her passion.
"She took all of these traditional crafts and things that are traditionally associated with women and she used those to make unbelievably detailed scenes," Ariel O'Connor, who refurbished Lee's work for the exhibit, told As It Happens host Carol Off in September.
Kentucky alien invasion
While people all over North America were watching solar eclipse in August, folks in one small Kentucky town were also keeping an eye out for UFOs.
In Hopkinsville, the eclipse coincided with the anniversary of the day in 1955 when a group of extra-terrestrials are said to have paid a visit to the Sutton family farm.
"They saw little beings — about three, three-and-a-half foot tall. Kind of silver. [They] didn't know what they were, but they definitely weren't human," Joann Smithey, who organizes an annual festival to commemorate the sighting, told As It Happens guest host Jim Brown.
"So they ran back inside and did the only thing that Kentucky folk know how to do to protect their family from the unknown — they grabbed shotguns."
The "shootout" apparently lasted throughout the night.
When police surveyed the scene the following morning, they found shotgun and rifle shells but, alas, no aliens.
Bigfoot is a lady
October marked the 50th anniversary of the famous grainy footage that purports to show the mythical Bigfoot in Bluff Creek, Calif.
But Bob Gimlin, who was with Roger Patterson when he shot the clip in 1967, doesn't think she's at myth at all.
"The moment I saw her I just said, 'Oh my god, they really do exist.' To see is to believe with me," Gimlin told As It Happens host Carol Off earlier this month.
The Bigfoot in the footage, Gimlin noted, had "mammary glands," but he suspects there are male Bigfoots out there too.
"To me, they're just big forest people," he said.
Exploding zombie caterpillars
There's nothing paranormal about this story — just good, old-fashioned terrifying biology.
Caterpillars on a nature reserve in England this year came down with a deadly case of baculovirus, which takes over thie brains and forces them to make a death march towards treetops in the middle of the day.
Once they get high enough, they die and their bodies liquefy, causing the virus to bursts from their corpses and drip onto unsuspecting caterpillars below, starting the cycle over again.
"It's really quite gruesome," scientist Chris Miller told As It Happens guest host Piya Chattopadhyay in August.
"Something's taking over your brain and it's forcing you to do something against your will, so it is kind of zombie horror film type of thing, but for caterpillars."