Beyond Belief: The Kid in the Closet

Speaking of old unsolved mysteries, let’s take a brief journey back to the late 1990s and look at a segment from a show called Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction.

People are always telling me about this particular episode, and I can see why – it’s pretty creepy, at first glance.


The subject of the episode is 10-year-old Danny, your typical kid who’s terrified of the “monster” in his closet. His friends tormentors, and especially his older brother, Brian, think it’s all nonsense, so one day they decide to play an age-old joke: throw him into the closet and lock the door. That’ll teach him!

Before they get the chance, however, Danny goads his older brother into venturing into the closet first, since he’s oh so brave. Brian agrees, laughingly walks into the closet, and closes the door.

Everyone seems to think the shrill screams that follow are just Brian playing games. But when their mother suddenly puts an end to the fun and opens the closet door herself, they find it empty. Only a pile of clothes remain.

Brian would never be seen again.

Fact or Fiction?

What freaked everyone out about this story was that the show ruled it as fact, likely scaring the Power Rangers socks off any younger viewers who happened to be watching.

But was it, really?

A bit of digging turns up at least one comment on the show’s IMDB message board, posted on February 12, 2008, in which the commenter shared her correspondence with someone who had worked on Beyond Belief and knew the actual truth:

“The Beyond Belief: fact or fiction story about the monster in the kid’s closet was based on an actual event that I personally investigated,” she was told. “At the time it happened there was no explanation for the boy’s disappearance— until two weeks later when it was learned that he had climbed out of the closet through a ceiling panel and ran away from home. He stayed at a friend’s house surreptitiously until the friend’s mother discovered him hiding in the attic of their home and exposed the ruse.”

The show’s producer wouldn’t discover this very important detail until it was far too late.

A reasonable explanation to an extraordinary tale. But now we come to a new fact or fiction: Do you believe the show itself, or a random comment on the Internet? Or does it even matter? A good story is a good story, I think.

Is there a monster in your closet?


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.