The Cheap Motel is a spooky urban legend about two friends from college who need acommodation for the night. This story was first told in Latin by a Roman philosopher named Cicero around 50 BC.
There were two young men who were students in the University of Chicago. For spring break, they arranged to visit some friends in another city. One of the students was staying in a house with some people he knew, but due to some confusion, they didn’t have a bed for his friend. After some discussion, the friend decided to stay at a cheap motel instead.
That night, they went out for drinks at a local bar and ended the night in a popular nightclub. It was almost 4 AM by the time they decided to call it a night. The first guy said goodbye to his friend and walked back to the house where he was staying.
That night, as he lay in bed, the student had a horrible nightmare. In the dream, he could see his friend at the motel, crying out for help. He was being chased by a fat, bald man who was brandishing a knife. The student watched in horror as his friend was cornered by the man and viciously stabbed to death.
The dream was so horrifying and realistic that the student woke up in a cold sweat. He lay in the darkness, trying to catch his breath and attempting to convince himself that it was just his imagination.
After calming himself down, he managed to fall asleep again. However, this time he had another dream in which he saw the same fat, bald man dragging his friend’s dead body out into a parking lot. As he watched, the man threw the corpse into the back of a white pickup truck and covered it with dirt and clay.
Again, the student woke up in a cold sweat. his heart was beating fast and he decided that he had to check on his friend. He got dressed and made his way to the cheap motel. Upon arriving at his friend’s room, he found the door unlocked. The room was empty and his friend was nowhere to be found.
The student grew suspicious and called the police. When they arrived, he begged them to investigate his friend’s disappearance. The police knocked on the door of the motel’s office and a fat, bald man emerged. The same fat, bald man the student had seen in his nightmares.
The frantic student ran out into the parking lot and stopped in his tracks. The only vehicle parked there was a white pickup truck with a pile of clay in the back. The student dug through the clay and unearthed the bloody corpse of his friend. When the police saw the dead body buried in the back of the pickup truck, they immediately arrested the motel owner and charged him with murder.
This obscure urban legend is found in some parts of the United States and it was inspired by a ghost story originally recorded by Cicero, who was a Roman philosopher that lived in Italy around 50 BC. Here is a rough translation of the original Latin story:
“Two Arcadians, friends traveling together, came to Megara. One betook himself to a private host, the other lodged at an inn. The one in the house saw in sleep his companion entreating him to come to his aid because he was entrapped by the treachery of the innkeeper; he might be rescued from imminent peril if the other ran swiftly up. Roused by the vision the man sprang forth and made to seek the inn where his friend was lodging. But then the other’s baneful fate caused him to renounce his kindly intent as unnecessary, and he went back to bed and sleep. Then his friend once more appeared before him stabbed and begged him, since he had neglected to bring help in life, at least not to deny him vengeance in death; for his body, said he, done to death by the innkeeper, was at that moment being carried to the gate in a wagon, covered with dung. Constrained by his friend’s reiterated prayers, he ran to the gate forthwith, seized the wagon indicated to him in his sleep, and brought the innkeeper to capital punishment.”