It turns out that James Wong’s memory of the Charlie Chaplin anecdote wasn’t entirely accurate. The story actually stems from the silent comedian’s own autobiography, written in 1964 and appropriately titled “My Autobiography.” It seems that Chaplin was spending several days in the Welsh town of Ebbw Vale, and on the second night his host introduced him to a man named Gilbert, who did have limbs, and who was living underneath a dresser, not a cot.

“A half a man with no legs, an over sized, blond, flat-shaped head, a sickening white face, a sunken nose, a large mouth and powerful muscular shoulders and arms, crawled from underneath the dresser,” Chaplin wrote (via WalesOnline). “He wore flannel underwear with the legs of the garment cut off to the thighs, from which ten thick, stubby toes stuck out.”

This was Gilbert, and Chaplin’s landlord wanted the entertainer’s advice about whether Gilbert could be in a circus. Chaplin said he was “horrified,” and wasn’t able to answer.

There’s an obvious streak of ableism in both Chaplin’s tale and the “X-Files” episode that came out of it, implying that the sheer image of someone whose body defies conventional norms is inherently terrifying. But the true horror isn’t in the physical appearance of Gilbert or the Peacock family, it’s in the situations that surrounded them. The fictional Peacock brothers are violent murderers — that was the scary part. And poor Gilbert was clearly being mistreated, forced to live out of sight under a dresser, and is now best remembered as the inspiration for a gory episode of television.

So everybody take a moment to pay your respects to Gilbert, and remember that at the heart of every scary story, there’s at least some real humanity.