4. Grateful Doe
In 2014, another cold case stuck out among the other scary mysteries that end up being discussed on Reddit. A user called u/zombiegrey took to the site to spread the word of a case that had long been fascinating her: the case of Grateful Doe.
In 1994, a young student named Michael Eric Hager picked up a hitchhiker while traveling to his mother’s house. The hitchhiker was wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt, and Hager’s friends and family suspected that a shared love for music may have prompted Hager to pick up the stranger. At some point, Hager’s Volkswagen van went off the road and crashed into a tree. Both men died instantly.
While Hager was quickly identified by family and friends, the hitchhiker’s identity remained a mystery. He carried no identifying items, and the crash had made his face all but unrecognizable. The only clue was a cryptic note found in the man’s pocket. The case eventually went cold until u/zombiegrey revived it, hoping it could be solved by Reddit. They posted all available information about the case, including digital reconstructions of what Grateful Doe may have looked like before the crash. The case became wildly popular, attracting the attention of thousands of users.
One user began commenting about the similarity between the photos and his former roommate, Jason Callahan. The user hadn’t seen Callahan since 1995, but remember that he had been a big fan of the Grateful Dead. The information eventually made it to Callahan’s grandmother, who hadn’t seen him since he left to follow the Grateful Dead on tour in 1995. She filed a police report, and authorities were able to use DNA testing to confirm that the body was, in fact, Callahan’s. After 20 years, Grateful Doe finally had a name, all thanks to Reddit.