Urban Legends

Phrogging, Urban Legend? Not So Much

Phrogging— an uninvited guest living in your home and you don’t know it.

Someone else living in your home besides you? Someone you didn’t invite? Phrogging is the term used for this freaky invasion and it’s not so much an Urban Legend, but based on actual occurrences.

Ever feel as if you’re not alone in your home? Having lived in several haunted houses, I can relate. But Phrogging is different. This is an actual living uninvited guest, not a ghost, who has secretively taken up residence in your dwelling. Police and newspapers have documented cases of these bizarre events.

Creepiest of Phrogging Cases

Artist’s rendering of the Spider Man in his attic refuge. The American Weekly, 1942.

This one still sends chills up and down my spine. September 1941. Denver. Theodore Coneys was cash-strapped and contacted acquaintance Philip Peters for financial help. He only needed a little to get by. When he arrived at the Peters’ home, he found no one there and let himself in.

While rummaging through the house, looking for money, he found a chubby hole which led to the attic. He made himself a home there for a month. He’d come out when he heard Peters leave the house.

Confidence Kills

On October 17, 1941—confident of his routine—Coneys entered the main house in search of supplies. However, a napping Peters heard sounds and went to investigate. He discovered Coneys at the refrigerator. A fight proceeded. Coneys grabbed a cast iron shaker and bludgeoned Peters to death.


Instead of fleeing, Coneys took refuge in his attic home.

Peters’ wife was in the hospital recovering from hip surgery. Neighbors came to check in on Peters and found his body. They called the police. The officers did a thorough search and found no evidence of how the murder took place. Someone had locked doors and windows from the inside. Maybe Peters. Maybe Coneys. They could find no proof of breaking and entering.

Neighbors rallied to support Peters and explained that he had no enemies. Mrs. Peters returned from the hospital. A friend moved in to help as she recovered. In the following months, the ladies heard and saw things they couldn’t explain. Strange noises. Household things out of place. Missing food.

They contacted the police, who searched the house and surroundings frequently, to no avail. The strangeness spooked the friend. She believed the house to be haunted and moved. Mrs. Peters relocated to Grand Junction with her son.

The Strangeness Continued

The Peters family home on West Moncrieff Place. Wedgewood Real Estate, c. 1978
Theodore Coneys, AKA “The Denver Spider Man”, after his arrest in 1942

Neighbors continued to report foul smells, strange sounds, and random lights in the vacant house. Finally, the Denver police stationed Detectives Roy Bloxom and Bill Jackson outside to the house. One night they saw what looked like a man inside the house, but upon entering, they found no one. Until they heard something upstairs.

They spotted Coneys’ feet disappearing into his cubbyhole and grabbed him. Coney confessed, and a jury convicted him of murder. The judge sentenced him to life in the state penitentiary where he died at 84.

He is known as the Spiderman of Denver because of the conditions in which Coneys lived while Phrogging Peters’ house. Police sent their smallest officer into the cubby. He found a nest of sorts in the attic.

“He had collected his waste and had not bathed during his attic residency. The stench ended up making the officer vomit. After recovering from losing his lunch, Officer Fred Zarnow said of the attic, “A man would have to be a spider to stand it long up there.” The newspapers heard this and ran with it. Theodore Coneys was dubbed “The Denver Spider Man,” and a/an (urban) legend was born.” THE TALE OF THE DENVER SPIDER MAN by CAROLINE on February 3, 2019.

Clara Bush
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4 replies on “Phrogging, Urban Legend? Not So Much”

Thank you, Sue. There is a movie, based on Phrogging occurrences. It’s called I SEE YOU starring one of my favorite actresses, Helen Hunt. After researching Phrogging, I told my husband about it. Every time we live the house now we lock everything and when we come home, we check nooks and crannies where a phrogger could hide. It freaks me out. Especially after watching the movie. I haven’t checked to to see if there is a YouTube devoted to phrogging. You are the the YouTube expert. Maybe you could start one.I’ll subscribe. –Clara

That is really interesting and gross, and I can sure imagine that happening. I’m glad they finally caught the guy. 🙂

Hey Barbara, big thank you for reading and commenting. I found phrogging fascinating on several levels. Like what kind of person does something like that?? And it’s creepy as h-ll. Imagining at your most vulnerable times someone is watching. Whooo. Just got chills. Going to check in the closet. Glad we don’t have an attic.—Clara

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