Secret Room Behind Bathroom Mirror: Ruthie Mae McCoy’s Murder

By RodneyHatfieldJr for Creepy

A TikTok video went viral this week for revealing an eerie portal between two apartments. In the creepy clip posted on Thursday, the New York City renter Samantha Hartsoe shares that she felt a cool draft from behind her bathroom mirror. Intrigued, she decided to take down the mirror to investigate the breeze, and found a gaping hole leading into a mysteriously empty room.  In a four-part series on Hartsoe’s TikTok channel, she is seen gearing up with a face mask and headlamp for an expedition into the dilapidated space. Hartsoe discovered it was a deserted adjacent apartment.

So what is the big deal? This live stream of a mystery room has prompted another chilling revelation involving bathroom mirrors and murder. A story dating back to the 1980s tells of a tragic ending to a mirror mystery. A woman named Ruthie Mae McCoy was murdered in Chicago in the 80s by someone who came into her apartment through her bathroom mirror, the Candyman movie(not the story) is allegedly loosely based on it. 


Let's discuss Ms. Mccoy. On April 22, 1987, 52-year-old Ruth Mae McCoy was murdered by someone who entered her 11th floor Abbott Apartment through her bathroom cabinet somewhere between 8:50 PM and 9:05 PM. McCoy called 9-1-1 at 8:45 that evening to report that someone in the apartment next door was coming through her bathroom medicine cabinet. Due to the operator mostly disregarding her responses, the call was noted as a "disturbance with a neighbor". 

After two more calls came through to 9-1-1 between 8:50-9:04 PM about screaming and gunshots coming from apartment 1109 (McCoy's apartment), police were dispatched and arrived ten minutes later. After their knocks went unanswered, the police attempted to enter the apartment using a key given to them by an attendant in the housing office but left when the key failed to unlock the door. 

The next evening, 9-1-1 received a call from McCoy's neighbor worried and concerned about her whereabouts, considering she had seen police at her door the night before and she still had not seen McCoy. Chicago Police and CHA security guards arrived back at McCoy's apartment. After the knocks and calls for McCoy went unanswered, officers suggested breaking the door down but were cautioned not to by CHA security guards that could result in a lawsuit. 

The following evening, a CHA official arrived at McCoy's door with a carpenter who drilled the lock on the door. McCoy was found dead lying on her bedroom floor from 4 gunshot wounds. One bullet passed through her left shoulder, another passed through her left thigh. A third entered the right side of her abdomen, pierced the liver, and exited the left side of the abdomen. The fourth and fatal bullet passed through her right upper arm, then entered her chest and severed the pulmonary vein. The medical examiner listed the cause of death as internal bleeding. 

Two men, Edward Turner, age 18, and John Hondras, age 21, were charged with murder, home invasion, armed robbery, armed violence, and residential burglary. Witnesses claim that they saw the two men carrying McCoy's 19-inch color TV and rocking chair around the project in the early morning hours after her death. Due to lack of evidence, the charges against the two men were found not guilty after two years of the trial. 

So what are the paralleling elements between McCoy’s murder and Candyman? First, it is about a killer coming out of the mirror. The film also takes place in Chicago, in a public housing complex of a similar layout and demographic as McCoy’s. While the horror flick references the notorious Cabrini-Green complex, the real-life mirror murder took place at the Grace Abbott Homes, not far from Cabrini-Green. The Candyman protagonist, who investigates the site of the bathroom-based killings in the movie, also befriends a woman bearing a familiar name: Anne-Marie McCoy. 


With that said, the new Candyman reboot from Jordan Peele is scheduled for August of this year or at least is supposed to. But with Covid, and the huge number of films being postponed, who really knows. I hope this little insight into the story behind the film is entertaining.

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