Lifetime's new true-crime docuseries, Phrogging: Hider in My House, premieres on Monday, July 18 at 10 PM ET. The docuseries will explore the terrifying and bone-chilling phenomenon called phrogging (pronounced "frogging"), which refers to the act of sneaking into people's homes and living among the occupants without their knowledge.
It might sound like the stuff of urban legends, but as the executive producer of Phrogging: Hider in My House, Jessica Everleth, puts it, "While it sounds unthinkable, it's quite common." The series will have a total of ten episodes that will cover 20 such shocking, skin-crawling stories of people who came across intruders living in their houses.
Continue reading for an explanation of the phenomenon known as "phrogging" and its consquences.
Phrogging: Hider in My House: What is phrogging and where does it take place?
A sneak peek video for Lifetime's Phrogging: Hider in My House explains that phrogging is a phenomenon wherein strangers sneak into people's homes and live among the occupants without their knowledge.
Urban Dictionary defines the term as "a person secretly living in another person's home." It is pronounced as "frogging" and connotes people hopping like a frog from one house to another.
It's important here to make a distinction between a phrogger and a squatter. Unlike squatters who occupy empty properties, phroggers are aware of the risk of the occupants returning and they choose to live among them.
The phenomenon is very real and happens more commonly than people might realize. Phroggers tend to hide in attics, basements, and crawl spaces in people's houses. The signs of an intruder start appearing gradually when residents notice things going missing and then reappearing, unexplained dirt around the house, food and clothes being gone, and more.
Speaking to MediaVillage, executive producer Jessica Everleth talked about how people are more inclined towards believing that their house is haunted by a ghost than questioning the presence of a human intruder. It's also common for victims to doubt themselves and their sanity before they even begin to consider seeking help.
She also talked about how a lot of these stories came to light during the COVID-19 lockdown. People began sharing their stories on social media and that's how a lot of source material for Phrogging: Hider in My House was gathered.
Everleth revealed that she found some 200 stories, and the first season, set to premiere on Monday, only covers 20 of those.
Phrogging: Hider in My House: Why does phrogging take place and what are its consequences?
The motives of phroggers can be varied. Some phroggers target the house, some target the residents. Some people simply want a place to stay where they won't have to pay rent and might even get free food and clothing. Others have more menacing motives like observing someone and making them think they have lost their minds.
In an A&E True Crime blog, Elena Ferrarin described a case in 1986 where a 17-year-old guy named Daniel LePlante, obsessed with fellow teen Tina Bowen, managed to hide in a wall cavity in her house. He started making strange noises, drinking leftover milk, and changing TV channels to torment Tina and her family.
Many such cases will come to light in Lifetime's Phrogging: Hider in My Home. In a preview for the show, survivor Madisyn Gidrey can be seen detailing the moment she realized there was an intruder in her house, hiding in her closet.
Whether the phrogger's intentions are malicious or not, having an intruder in the house can have lingering psychological effects. People who found out about phroggers living among them, showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, more often than not. They began to feel unsafe within their own homes and also feared for the safety of their loved ones.
As for the consequences for the phrogger, they face jail time if they are caught. However, many phroggers manage to escape without getting caught.
Everleth mentioned that they excluded some cases from the show because the victims were still apprehensive and felt uncomfortable reliving all of it.
Don't forget to catch the premiere of Phrogging: Hider in My House only on Lifetime on July 18, 2022 at 10 PM ET. It will also be available for streaming the next day.