|Photo credit: The X-Files Body Count|
You don’t typically look to The X-Files—a TV show about aliens and monsters—for realism. But interwoven among the fiction are some surprising nuggets of truth. In fact, some of Scully and Mulder’s weirdest cases were directly inspired by real-life oddities and creepy tales.
10. ‘The Erlenmeyer Flask’
The Episode: In the first season’s finale, a man’s body emits a poisonous gas after paramedics perform a needle decompression. The paramedics in the ambulance die, and the man escapes. Of course, the guy in the ambulance is later revealed to have alien DNA, but in a way, the real story behind that toxic blood is even more bizarre.
The True Story: In 1994, a woman named Gloria Ramirez with cervical cancer was admitted to Riverside General Hospital. When a nurse tried to draw blood, she noticed strange particles floating in the blood and realized that it smelled like ammonia. Six paramedics collapsed from the fumes, and more than 20 showed symptoms.
The combination of oxygen and the defibrillator may have caused dimethyl sulfoxide in Ramirez’s body to form gaseous dimethyl sulfate, which seeped out of her body and poisoned the hospital staff. However, that’s just a theory, and the case of Gloria Ramirez lives on as one of the medical world’s eeriest unsolved mysteries.
The Episode: The mental state of a serial killer is so chaotic that he unwittingly projects his murderous fantasies onto undeveloped photographs. When the killer kidnaps a young woman at a pharmacy, the desk clerk discovers photos of the woman screaming in terror on a freshly developed roll of film.
The True Story: According to The Official Guide to the X-Files, Volume 3, writer Vince Gilligan combined real-life stories about Ted Serios and Howard Unruh to come up with a fictional killer whose sick visions are so palpable that they have the power to leave stains on the real world.
Serios was a photographer in the ’60s who claimed to be able to capture a person’s thoughts on undeveloped film. Even creepier was mass murderer Howard Unruh, who fantasized about killing his neighbors before taking a gun and killing 13 people in the “Walk of Death” in 1949.