Lifetime’s ‘Phrogging: Hider in My House’ is a new true-crime show that explores the bizarre phenomenon called Phrogging. The term is given to the act of people who live in someone else’s house without their permission, sometimes even when the owners are in the residence. Phrogging, though rare, has been reported as happening for decades, with cases going back to the 1980s. So, if you’re curious to learn more about this, we’ve got you covered.
The Meaning of Phrogging, Explained
The term Phrogging originated from the act of frogs leaping from one place to another. Pronounced “frogging,” it refers to how certain people commit the crime of living in someone else’s home. There have been different cases, some being temporary intruders while others took on a more permanent residence without the owner’s permission. While sometimes it’s at empty houses where the owner isn’t living, there have been instances where individuals lived in some corner of a home while the owners took up residence.
People often notice something is off, but they have second thoughts about talking to the police about it. Such reports have cropped up across the country for decades, and the phenomenon can be best explained by looking at a few instances. In 1986, Daniel LaPlante, who was obsessed with Tina Bowen, found a hiding area next to the bathroom in the wall. He began exhibiting strange behavior by making strange sounds, drinking milk, and changing TV channels.
At one point, Daniel took Tina and some of her loved ones hostage with a hatchet. Luckily, she was able to escape and call for help. Daniel was arrested later, but while on bail, he broke into another woman’s house, killing her and her two children. In another case in Japan, a man found a woman living in his closet for over a year before he realized something was amiss after his food began disappearing. He saw her after setting up security cameras in the house and immediately called the police.
In 2012, Tracy, a South Carolina resident, began hearing strange noises from her attic and saw nails falling out of the ceiling. She learned that her ex-boyfriend from 12 years ago had been released from prison and had been living in the attic for a couple of weeks before being found out. In another disturbing case, Jared Malvic and his roommates lived on the second floor in an off-campus apartment near Ohio State University. However, they soon learned about an unwelcome guest in their building.
Jared and his roommates would sometimes wake up to the kitchen cupboards open and other things like that. They eventually ran into someone named Jeremy, a graduate student who had been living in a locked utility closet in the basement. It was furnished with his belongings as well. Jeremy had permission from the previous tenants, but he continued living there long after they left.
Jared later said, “I would never leave a door unopened now, that’s for sure. Even if it’s a utility closet, I need to know what’s in there. I feel like I am less trusting of landlords. It has not made me hostile, but it’s definitely made me more on edge, more cautious.” While rare, such cases have popped up a lot recently, with the authorities urging people not to second-guess themselves if they notice something amiss.