The worse part about this legend is that it isn’t a legend.
This has actually happened.
The story goes that in Atlantic City, Vegas, or another gambling heavy city, a tourist and his family are looking for a hotel. Most of the ‘nice’ hotels are full, but he manages to find a fairly clean looking but run down motel off the strip.
The manager lets him have a discount on a largish room- a deep discount. He warns the guests that the room has been hard to rent out. People say there’s an odor.
The family settles in, not noticing any smell in particular. At first, anyway. Later that night however, the children begin to complain and the parents begin to feel ill. They start to look for whatever could be causing such a horrible stench.
Eventually the only place left is under the mattresses. The father pulls off the heavy mattress, and yells for this wife to get the children out of the room and get the manager.
There’s a body under the bed.
The horribly macabre part of this story is that this has actually happened. A similar situation was reported in 2003 in Kansas City. Actually, it’s happened more than once in multiple cities. It seems to be fairly frequent. Which is creepy on a number of levels.