Did you hear that in the attic?
It’s probably just some critters running around…
The idea of someone being inside our homes without our knowledge isn’t the most settling thought in the world, but it does happen.
When a person secretively occupies someone’s house, it’s referred to as phrogging.
You may be shaking your head, thinking there’s no way that could ever happen to me.
Oh…but it can.
Every so often, homeowners will notice strange happenings, such as food disappearing, unusual noises during the night, or items being shifted around, only to find out they’ve been living with an uninvited guest.
The chances of someone secretly living in your house are slim to none, but there have been some fascinating (and creepy) cases over the years.
In this article, you’ll hear about eight real phrogging true crime cases, some even involving celebrities.
It’s not just an urban legend.
So, get ready for the hair to stand up on the back of your neck, and let’s check out these stories.
Warning: you’ll want to check your attic after reading this.
What is Phrogging?
Before we begin, let’s clearly define phrogging (pronounced frogging).
Phrogging is the illegal crime of secretly living in someone’s home.
The person phrogging is referred to as a phrog or phrogger. The name comes from the idea of the person hopping from one place to the next like a frog.
Phroggers come in all shapes and sizes.
Some stay in homes for just a night, while others have successfully stayed for up to a year before being caught–an entire year.
The act of phrogging can lead to several criminal charges, including felonies.
Usually, phroggers get charged with breaking and entering, stalking, harassment, trespassing, and more.
It can lead to serious jail time, depending on the severity of the case.
But what’s the difference between phrogging and squatting?
Are Phrogging and Squatting the Same Thing?
Both phrogging and squatting relate to people living in a space they are not supposed to be in.
The key difference between the two trespassers is that squatters take up unoccupied areas (abandoned buildings), while phroggers take up in someone else’s home (homes and guesthouses).
Phroggers are like the creepier, more problematic cousin of squatters.
Both actions are illegal and could result in similar charges.
1. Honolulu Visitor (Scare Warning)
What’s the last thing you do before leaving your house to go on a vacation?
Lock the doors, of course!
Well, that’s what James and Brittany Campbell did in 2019.
The couple was leaving their home in Honolulu to visit family on the US mainland.
When they returned, a man was standing at their front door.
His name was Ezequiel Zayas, 23 at the time, and he had moved into their home as soon as the Campbells left for vacation.
The couple called the police, and Zayas was arrested, but the story takes a sinister turn.
Inside their home, the Campbells found chilling messages that Zayas had written about performing operations on them.
On the beds, he had laid out knives as if preparing for surgery.
Fortunately, the Campbells were able to spot him before entering their home.
If they hadn’t, who knows what could have happened; however, it wouldn’t have taken long to realize someone had been living in the house because Zayas had left it in shambles.
Zayas was charged with burglary, but the judge allowed him to be on supervised release.
The Campbells were obviously horrified by the decision to allow him to roam free.
A few weeks later, Zayas was arrested again and then killed an inmate while in custody.
The story has gone down as one of the most horrifying real phrogging cases, but don’t you worry; there are still plenty of more unsettling incidents to talk about.
2. P Diddy’s Phrogger
Back in 2012, the world-famous rapper P Diddy was a victim of phrogging.
On March 31st, a man named Quamine Taylor managed his way into P Diddy’s home in Long Island.
Taylor took a taxi to the estate and found an unlocked basement door.
When he entered, he set off a security alarm, and it seemed his little escapade was all but over; however, Taylor was able to smooth talk his way past a representative of the security company and a police officer–ridiculous, right?
Once the officer left, Taylor put on P Diddy’s clothes, cracked open a few bottles of alcohol, and helped himself to food in the kitchen.
Yeah, Taylor was living the good life.
But his vacation in P Diddy’s home wouldn’t last very long.
By the time a caretaker found the phrogger, it was 4pm on April 1st.
Taylor had managed to stay about 24 hours in P Diddy’s home.
In custody, Taylor told police he just wanted to get out of the city and was planning to stay there between 15 and 17 days.
He was confident he could stay that long because it wasn’t his first time phrogging at P Diddy’s house.
In 2001, Taylor was found intoxicated swimming in the pool.
He later told the New York Post that he had been making himself at home there on and off for ten years.
Taylor was hit with trespassing and larceny.
His mother publicly stated that Taylor had been struggling with mental illness.
3. Secret Mall Apartment
So far, the real phrogging cases we’ve talked about happened inside of homes.
Well, this story is a little different.
Over in Rhode Island, an artist named Michael Townsend decided to take up residency in the Providence Place Mall.
Starting in 2003, Townsend occupied an unused 750-square-foot space underneath the shopping mall.
He moved in after his condo was cleared out for the construction of a supermarket parking lot.
The same developers who forced Townsend out of his home were also responsible for building the mall; he saw moving in as the perfect retribution.
For four years, Townsend lived in his covert mall apartment. He had decorated it with cabinets and tables, and he even had fine china and a PlayStation 2 (sadly, the PlayStation was stolen).
In 2007, security caught wind of Townsend’s apartment, and they surprised him when he and another artist walked in the door.
Townsend was arrested and slapped with several serious criminal charges.
Luckily, the judge wasn’t horrified by the crime and gave Townsend a misdemeanor and a probation deal, so he never had to serve time.
Townsend later said he had plans to put in word flooring and a second bedroom and to finish the kitchen.
So, the next time you’re at your local mall, keep your eyes peeled for shoppers who might just be living there.
4. Denver Spider Man
Phrogging is by no means a new phenomenon, and the case of Theodor Edward Coneys proves that.
Theodor Coneys is referred to as the Denver Spider Man, but he’s no superhero.
In September of 1941, Coneys was down on his luck in Denver and decided to ask his old acquaintance, Philip Peters, for help.
When he arrived at the house, no one was home, so he decided to let himself in.
As he rummaged through the home, he found a cubby hole that led to a small room in the attic and occupied it.
For the next month, he stayed in the room and only came down when he heard Peters leaving the house.
Well, one day, thinking the house was empty, he came down from the room and began scrounging for food.
Peters, who was napping, woke up to noises and found Coneys in the kitchen.
Coneys struck and killed Peters with an old pistol and an iron stove shaker.
Instead of fleeing, he went back to the attic room.
The murder puzzled the police because all the windows and doors were locked, and Peters had no enemies.
Although the house was searched and the cubby hole was discovered, no one believed a man could fit through it, so it was left unchecked.
Peter’s wife began hearing strange noises in the house, and the housekeeper eventually quit, believing the house was haunted.
Mrs. Peters moved out with her son, but neighbors and passersby still reported seeing lights turning off and on in the empty home.
Finally, on July 30th, the police checked up on the house and found Coneys.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment and dubbed the Denver Spider Man.
5. Pamela Anderson’s Phrogger
In 2001, Pamela Anderson had a phrogger in her home.
Anderson thought something was fishy when she started to notice food and clothing disappearing.
One day, at home with her children, she discovered the phrogger.
It was a homeless French woman named Christine Roth who had taken up residency in Anderson’s pool house.
The phrogger was wearing none other than the famous red bathing suit from Baywatch. She also was holding a strange letter claiming that she wasn’t attracted to Anderson but just wanted to touch her–yeah, a bit unsettling.
Roth was charged with a misdemeanor and ordered back to France.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, when the police asked Anderson if she wanted the bathing suit back, she told them to keep it.
Who has it now?
The world may never know.
6. Ex-boyfriend in the Attic
Something didn’t sit right with Tracy from South Carolina.
Without a sensible explanation for the presence that she felt in her house and the sounds keeping her awake, she chalked it up to some kind of paranormal activity.
Then, on a Saturday night, strange noises started coming from the attic, and nails started falling from the ceiling.
Tracy’s eldest sons and nephew went to investigate and found a man.
It ended up being Tracy’s ex-boyfriend from 12 years ago, who had made a nook for himself with coats and jackets in the heating unit.
The man managed to get past the boys and ran out of the house before the police could arrive.
In the attic, they found a disgusting scene of Sonic cups that the phrogger had used as toilets. But the most unsettling discovery was that the man rigged the air vents so that he could look down on the family below.
The family believes the ex-boyfriend had been living in the attic for about two weeks, ever since he was released from jail.
Unfortunately, the police couldn’t track down the ex-boyfriend.
The event took place in 2012, and there are currently no reports of an arrest online. There are also no indications that the man returned; however, it’s without a doubt one of the most disturbing real phrogging cases.
7. Phrogger in Japan
How long do you think it would take you to notice that someone was secretly living in your home?
Well, for a man in Japan, the answer was a year.
In 2008, a male homeowner, who lived alone, started to notice food disappearing from his fridge.
The man assumed he had started sleepwalking, although he had never done it before.
That explanation didn’t ease his worries, so he made sure to lock all the doors and windows before leaving the house in case of a burglar, but his food kept disappearing.
He couldn’t take it anymore and installed surveillance cameras around the house.
Shortly after, the cameras picked up footage of a woman eating food from the fridge and watching TV in the living room.
He called the cops.
When the police arrived, they found the doors and windows of the house locked.
As they searched through the home, they found a 58-year-old woman in a spare closet.
She had been living there for nearly a year and was originally able to break in on a day the front door was left unlocked.
The police reported that she had brought a mattress into the closet and had been using the man’s shower.
Other than the food, the woman didn’t steal anything.
8. George Michael’s Phrogger
Celebrities are common victims of stalkers, and George Michael could tell you all about it.
In 2004, George Michael was alarmed when he heard noises coming from the floor.
A crazed woman suddenly appeared, and Michael quickly called the police, leading to her arrest.
An investigation led to the discovery that the woman had been living under the floorboards of the house for up to four days.
Apparently, she was able to enter from outside, where the house was propped up on stilts.
The police let her off with a warning, and Michael didn’t press further charges, but that was not the end of her.
During the time the woman was camped under the house, she had managed to find Michael’s private email and began bombarding him with threatening messages.
The content of the messages was so alarming that the police feared Michael could face the same ending as John Lennon.
She was later arrested for these harassing messages and for once again trespassing onto Michael’s property.
Fortunately, the woman was sent to a mental hospital, and Michael no longer had to live with his stalker.
9. I See You
One day Jordan Buranskas’s wife could not find her purse.
Convinced that she had taken it out with her earlier that day and left it somewhere, he pulled up his home’s surveillance system.
Yet after going frame by frame through the day, he could not find an incident of her leaving the house with the purse.
But he did catch something much worse.
After the couple had fallen asleep on the couch while watching TV, a figure appeared in their loft.
It moved so slowly that the couple’s two dogs didn’t wake and then stood at the railing staring down at them until they awoke.
The figure then moved slowly back out of the frame.
After seeing the footage, Jordan checked the house and could not find the intruder.
He determined that the phrogger must have left through the loft balcony door, which had been left unlocked that evening.
Fortunately, the couple had no other incidents, but the intruder was implicated in a series of other break-ins and burglaries around the neighborhood.
How do you feel after reading about those eight real phrogging cases?
Our homes are places of safety, and phroggers leave victims feeling violated and deprived of security.
The good news is that the chances of someone secretly moving into your home are very low.
When you hear rumbling in the attic, it likely means you have a pest problem and not an uninvited stranger.
With that being said, it’s always smart to keep your home secure.
Lock the doors and windows when you leave the house and install a reliable security system. If you feel inclined, you could also set up surveillance cameras.
And remember, phrogging is very much illegal, so don’t get any ideas!
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