One of the most delightful and nostalgic things to come from the nineties is a little television show you might remember—Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. Today, it’s kind of goofy, but at the time, this series was groundbreaking. The show was interactive entertainment that you could enjoy with your family without ever leaving your couch. Starting in 1997, the series lasted for four seasons, and it aired on Fox at any given time the network felt like putting it on. Sometimes there’d be weeks between episodes, and it would relaunch with little notice.

The premise was simple enough—you’re shown five different, seemingly impossible stories that you must decide are either true or the product of a writer’s imagination. At the end of each episode, the host (James Brolin in season one, Jonathan Frakes for the remainder of the series) would reveal which segments were “fact” and which were “fiction.”

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction was definitely a product of its time in the sense that half-truths could be passed off as authentic. Although the Internet was around in the mid-nineties, the era allowed you to remain blissfully ignorant. The average person back then wasn’t racing to their web browsers to debunk the dubious—people just wanted to believe. While Beyond Belief: Fact of Fiction wasn’t consistently a horror anthology, it featured a number of surprisingly scary stories that have stuck with us after all these years. So in honor of the show’s twenty-second anniversary, here are ten tales deemed to be some of the creepiest in the history of the series. Can you tell fact from fiction?

Fair warning to those who have never seen this show before—there are spoilers below! Though if you’re like me, you constantly forget which stories are “fact” and which are not.

 

Grave Sitting (Season 2, Episode 7)

beyond belief the grave
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Three teenagers out and about decide to have some fun one night—Melissa is dared to sit on a serial killer’s grave for two hours in exchange for cash. To prove she’s been there the whole time, Melissa must then plunge a knife into the ground. Seems easy enough, right? Well, Melissa gets so freaked out by the ghost story, she opts to leave early. She drives the knife into the killer’s grave and tries to escape, but she’s unable to run away. Something is pinning her down—someone is keeping her there! Melissa’s friends and the police later find the teenager dead at the same spot, and it turns out Melissa died of fright. In her haste to flee the scene, Melissa didn’t realize she had stabbed the knife through her coat, effectively pinning her to the gravesite.

FACT OR FICTION?—Fiction

The Grave sticks with you because of its cruel ending. You might ask how someone can be so foolish, but hey—fear is powerful. This one is based on an urban legend where variations have the victim’s hair turning white before she dies.

 

 

 

The House on Barry Avenue (Season 2, Episode 5)

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A couple’s home is plagued by strange fires. Experts can’t find a technical cause, but a medium suggests a more supernatural explanation. He uncovers that the husband set a serious fire when he was younger, and his father scared him straight by saying fire would follow him for the rest of his life. This confession seems to absolve him of the paranormal activity. That is, until the fires resume and the entire house is burnt down. We finally learn that the source of the fiery curse falls with the wife, whose past involves criminal arson.

FACT OR FICTION?—Fact

Preposterous? Maybe. But The House on Barry Avenue is a chilling story in spite of all the fire involved.

 

 

The Mirror of Truth (Season 3, Episode 13)

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After a vain and mean woman insults her stylist, she starts to think there’s something incredibly wrong with her face. She enlists professional help, but he sees nothing wrong with his client physically. When she looks into a mirror, though, all the woman sees is a grotesque face staring back at her.

Fact or Fiction?—Fact

This supernatural take on BDD isn’t exactly scary, but it is suspenseful. The reveal of the woman’s freaky facade is one of the most startling moments in the entire series.

 

 

Secret of The Family Tomb (Season 1, Episode 4)

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A locked family crypt is being violently desecrated from the inside. No one seems to know how or why, but it’s divulged that the recently departed teen runaway was abused by her mother—who just happens to now be residing in the crypt with her. Separating their caskets relieves all further incident.

Fact or Fiction?—Fact

This unsettling account of family dysfunction from beyond the grave is elevated thanks to an ominous choice in venue. Anyone else think this cemetery looks like the one frequently visited in Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

 

 

The Landlady (Season 3, Episode 8)

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A curmudgeonly landlady believes she has a prowler, but a cop doesn’t take her seriously. It comes to light that the woman kicked a tenant out on the street, and now that man is dead. The visits from the unseen interloper persist, then culminate into a terrifying night where the landlady sees footsteps being made in the mud before her. Yet there’s no one there. Even though she moves away, the landlady is followed by the ghostly footsteps.

 

Fact or Fiction?—Fiction

Vengeful spirit stories were common in this show, and The Landlady is a prime example of one. Alas, this one was too spooky to be true.

 

 

Precious (Season 3, Episode 9)

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A therapist is brought in to help a teenager who believes her dead cat Precious is still alive. She leaves food out for Precious—and it gets eaten. When the therapist takes pictures of the teen with her invisible pet, she’s shocked to see Precious in the photos.

Fact or Fiction?—Fact

It’s not clear if Precious was intended to be a heartwarming anecdote about the transcendent bond between humans and pets, but it ultimately comes off as eerie.

Red-Eyed Creature (Season 2, Episode 12)

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A family is seeing a red-eyed entity around the house at night, but they believe it’s just their mind playing tricks on them. At the end, the nanny’s eyes glow red.

Fact or Fiction?—Fact

Host Jonathan Frakes suspects the title specter is a guardian for the family, but let’s be real—whatever that red-eyed thing was, it was so not benevolent.

 

 

Room 245 (Season 4, Episode 6)

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Once a woman and her ill mother check into a hotel, the daughter leaves to fetch some prescription medicine. She returns to find her mother gone and the hotel room remodeled. The hotel staff and the doctor on hand who prescribed her the medicine claim they don’t know her. As for the mother, she is never seen again.

Fact or Fiction?—Fact

This one is based on the somewhat factual urban legend “The Vanishing Hotel Room.” It dates as far back as 1889, and it usually takes place in Paris, France. The theory is that the mother died from her malady (i.e., the plague), and the hotel covered up her death to avoid bad press. They then pretended to not know either her or her daughter. In happier retellings, the daughter eventually finds her mother. By the way, this same legend serves as the basis for the Jodie Foster thriller Flightplan.

 

 

House of Shadows (Season 4, Episode 5)

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A house-sitter is watching TV in her client’s home when the channel switches to another all on its own. What she sees doesn’t make any sense, though—it’s a man mixing mortar and building a brick wall in a mysterious room. She doesn’t think much of this, but the TV continues to change to this channel. Or the set turns itself back on to show her the bizarre footage again. The house-sitter then hears noises in the basement, and she goes to investigate. Down there, she finds the room she saw in the footage. And inside the wall is the owner’s missing wife, barely alive.

Fact or Fiction?—Fact

As disturbing and inexplicable as this one is, House of Shadows presents an optimistic perspective, too—the world may be full of terrible people who do terrible things, but sometimes a higher power of some kind will look out for you.

 

 

Kid in The Closet (Season 1, Episode 2)

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Danny is scared of a monster in his closet, but his mother chalks this up to being a silly childhood fear. When the boy’s brother Brian is challenged to enter the closet on his own, he starts to scream bloody murder. They finally open the closet door to find only the boy’s clothes left behind. The police comb through the closet and the house, but Brian is never found.

 

Fact or Fiction?—Fact

You can’t bring up the show without someone mentioning this famous story—and for good reason as it’s darn scary. Wet blankets have done some detective work in regards to the origin of this tale, and they’ve said it’s likely the boy discovered an escape route inside the closet that led to outside the house. Unlike in Kid in the Closet, the child is recovered. I think we can all agree the embellished Beyond Belief version is superior in every way.

 

There you have it—ten of the creepiest stories in Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. For those in the U.S., the entire series is included with Amazon Prime Video! Let us know what your favorite stories are on Twitter, in the official NOFS Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!