The Strange Tale Of The Denver Spiderman

“Sorry I’m late. Work was murder.” —Green Goblin, in Spider-Man (2002)

In A Nutshell

In 1941, a man was found murdered in his house, with all the windows and doors locked. It looked like the case would go unsolved until a year later police heard strange noises coming from a tiny crawl space in the attic. The killer had been inside the house the whole time.

The Whole Bushel

In September 1941, Philip Peters was found bludgeoned to death at his home. What police couldn’t figure out was how it happened. All the doors and windows in Peter’s home were locked from the inside, and there were no signs of forced entry whatsoever. It looked like the mystery would go unsolved.

Eventually Philip Peter’s widow and son returned to live in the house after a hospital stay. They soon started hearing noises at night: shuffling and knocking. Even neighbors reported seeing “odd lights.” So, the family came to believe that the house was haunted. And there was still the mystery surrounding the death of Mr Peters. The police responded to these reports of ghostly sounds by searching the house, but coming up empty. The family had had enough and moved out. However, the police, not willing to let the case go, and not willing to buy into the “ghost” theory, began to carry out surveillance.

One day, that surveillance paid off. Almost a full year after the initial murder, in July 1942, two police officers on a stakeout outside the house saw something move in an upstairs window. They rushed inside and up to the attic where they saw a man trying desperately to squeeze into a tiny gap. They pulled him out and found that he’d been living in a tiny cubby hole in the wall this whole time, occasionally making brief forays downstairs for food and water. Although the hole was too small for most men, the man was able to contort himself to fit into it. It turned out his name was Theodore Coneys, a homeless man who’d been living in the attic for quite some time. Philip Peters had startled him one day as he foraged for food resulting in the initial murder. He was dubbed the Spiderman for both the weird length of his fingers and for the length of time he’d spent living in his spider-hole in the attic.

Show Me The Proof

American Murder: Criminals, Crimes, and the Media, Mike Mayo
The Spider Man

  • Marozia

    I remember reading about this case years ago. I believe Coneys died in 1967 at the Colorado State Pen.

  • Hillyard

    I was thinking this would be an article about someone crawling up buildings.

  • Arjan Hut

    Unbelievably creepy … what a plot!

  • Ivan V.

    I’d like to see his fingers…

    • P5ychoRaz

      If I had a nickel man…


    Where did he go to the bathroom

    • bluenette

      That too is a horrifying thought.

  • Jen

    So he’d just be contorted in a cubby for 90% of his time? If he wasn’t insane at the start, he must have been by the end

  • IrrationalSquirrels

    Does anyone else not believe this and think it’s probably just a spooky old wives tale?

    • flicka

      I agree the whole concept seems far fetched but unless I’m mistaken a very similar ,though not fatal, situation occurred in Japan rather recently. If I can find a link I will post it.

      • Torre Sims

        DUDE!!! IT’S SOURCED!!!

  • Hadeskabir

    This sounds like an episode from the X-Files. Maybe they had the idea for the episode from this story.

    • Chris

      What episode is that?

      • pixie-led

        “Squeeze” and “Tooms”

        • Hadeskabir

          Yes, exactly!

  • inconspicuous detective

    now think about how many of those hauntings you’ve heard about are actually people shacking up in places you didn’t know existed in your house. yikes…

    • flicka

      Nope. Not going to think about that. Lol. I’d never sleep again!

  • bluenette

    Dear God that is the most horrifying thing I’ve ever heard. I read another story in Japan where a homeless woman lived inside a man’s house for a year and he never knew (she wasn’t violent). Now whenever I hear a noise in the house, I’m going to worry there is a murderous hobo in here.

    • Torre Sims

      dude i lived in a townhouse where i kept hearing noises on the roof, then i noticed that all the town houses had vents near the roof. a townhouse right next to mine had a open vent with a ladder laying against it. when i saw that my imagination went nuts!!!

  • T6G Nero aka Zombie

    The 1940’s were full of strange unsolved cases, some similar to this. The homeless would very often hide inside people’s houses and later kill them when they were discovered.

  • Peter Queen

    Man that is sooooooo creepy!

  • Jillian

    This story as well as Reddit’s /r/letsnotmeet are enough to make me paranoid every time I hear a strange noise! >.<

  • Nomsheep

    Wow, would have sucked to be the cops arresting him.

  • VoiD

    Bad police searched the house but missed a spot.

  • Akatosh

    ‘Spider’ man, not spider-man.
    Clever use of language in the title. well done

  • P5ychoRaz

    Little disappointed at how lavish his “crawlspace” is.

    “That’s bigger than my apartment!” – (some New Yorker)

  • Sir John

    download all spiderman soundtrack