Hachiman is considered the god of samurai warriors (not of war) and of archery within Japanese mythology, although curiously his origin is not found in classical Japanese writings, being the myth created after the death of the first emperor Ojín , who was promoted to deity and renamed.
Its ultimate origin is in the fusion between the Shinto god of war and Buddhist beliefs from China, a country where he is known as the Great Bodhisattva Hachiman, protector of the devotees of the Lotus Sutra.
Who was Hachiman?
Shinto currents in Japan also consider him to be the god of agriculture and the protector of Japan, in charge of maintaining peace, prosperity and happiness for its inhabitants. The dove is the animal that represents him and also the one that serves as a messenger. Traditional drums called Odaiko were beaten during battles, and Hachiman's spirit was believed to dwell in the sound of the drums and the clash of swords in battle.
Hachimán, whose name can be translated as "God of the 8 banners" in reference to the eight heavenly banners that announced and marked the birth of the first emperor Ojín, is also the protector of the lives of men and in some regions of the country even the sailors and fishermen who venerate him as their guide and tutor and to whom they pray in search of a fruitful day of fishing. Another group that venerates Hachiman is that of farmers and peasants, whom he protects and protects.
Such is his importance that he has nearly 25,000 temples erected in his name within Japan, and there are not a few cities, towns and villages whose name refers to Hachiman.
Top 100 Urban Legends
1. Footprints In The Snow
This urban legend involves a teenage girl who was home with her little sister while their parents were out on the town. After watching some television together, she sent her little sister to bed and then went back downstairs to watch more TV. Eventually, she got bored with what she was watching and turned it off, then curled up in a blanket on the couch and watched the snow fall through the large sliding-glass window in the living room. She had only been watching for a few minutes when she saw a man walking toward the sliding glass doors with deadly purpose. He started to pull something shiny out of his coat and she dove under her blanket in terror.After a while, she pulled down the blanket and found that the man was gone. She called the police, who immediately rushed over to the scene to investigate. Upon examining the premises, one of the first things they noticed was that there were no footprints in the snow. And with the rate of snowfall, there was no way they could have been covered that quickly. Puzzled, the officers inspected the residence and noticed wet footprints on the carpet leading straight up to the couch where the girl had been sitting. The madman had been behind her the whole time and what she had seen had been his reflection in the window.
2. The Chilling Discovery
There are multiple versions of this story, and most of them start with a young college girl who was studying late, and thus was spending a lot of time in the library instead of her dorm room. During a late night of studying, she realized that she had forgotten something in her dorm room, so she decided to make a trip back to go get it. When she opened the door she found the room dark, but figured that her roommate was either asleep or out studying like her. Not wanting to disturb her in case she was asleep, she left the light off, grabbed what she needed, and went back to the library.Upon returning to her room, she found her roommate lying on the floor with a slit throat. But the worst part was the message written in lipstick on the bathroom mirror that read simply, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?”In another version of the tale, there is a woman who lives alone in an apartment with her puppy. She was fast asleep one night when she was awoken by a strange noise. To reassure herself, she reached down to where the pup slept beside the bed and felt it lick her hand. Satisfied, she drifted peacefully back to sleep. The next morning she discovered that the dog had been hanged in the shower. On the floor beside her bed was a note that said, “Humans can lick too.”
3. The Unfortunate Coat Incident
This urban legend begins on a cold winter day with a young couple who were having a christening party in their home for their new baby. The guests started to arrive out of the cold, and as they were welcomed by their hosts, they tossed their coats onto a bed that was near the main living room. It just started with a coat or two, but once someone saw one coat, everyone began adding to the pile.Before long, all the guests had arrived and everything was in full swing. The parents decided that it was time to show off their new baby to the guests—after all, he was the guest of honor. So the mother walked over to the bed where she had left the baby—only to scream in horror when she found that her little bundle of joy had been accidentally smothered under the towering pile of coats.
4. The Gas Station Attendant
It was late and a young woman was driving through an unfamiliar area deep in the country. Her car was old and ureliable, and soon she realized that she’d have to stop for gas soon if she didn’t want to start walking. As luck would have it, she came across an old gas station a little farther down the road. It was an old-fashioned station, the kind with an attendant who comes out to pump the gas, and something about it set the alarm bells ringing in her head. But she knew that she couldn’t get much farther without refueling, so she reluctantly pulled into the gas station and asked the attendant to fill up the tank.The attendant seemed nervous as he filled up her gas tank, but eventually he finished the job and came over to the driver’s side to get the payment. She gave him a $20 bill and he examined it carefully, then told her that it was counterfeit. At this point the alarm bells weren’t ringing any more—they were rioting. The attendant explained that he would have to take her back to his office and call his manager, because the counterfeit would have to be reported to the bank. Once he had convinced her to come with him, he explained that the bill wasn’t actually counterfeit—he’d gotten her out of the car because there was a man with a hatchet hiding in the backseat.
5. The Wily Home Invader
While the specific stories of this urban legend are just myths, there is a chilling undertone of truth to it, since home invaders have been documented using tactics similar to this to get into people’s homes. According to the stories that have circulated, someone is home alone late at night with very few lights on—just enough to indicate that someone is home and awake, but that there aren’t many people around. Someone comes up and, in the dead of night, just starts banging on the door and yelling to be let in. When the homeowner gets close to the door and calls out, the calls become even more insistent, yelling that someone is trying to hurt them.In one story, a woman was at home by herself when she heard a woman banging on her door and shouting to be let inside the house. When she asked who it was, the woman outside began yelling that she was being attacked by a man and needed to get somewhere safe. When the homeowner listened closely, she indeed heard a male voice, but he was talking normally as if he was simply having a conversation with the woman. The woman outside was covering the peephole, so the homeowner peeked out the window beside the door. She could see a woman dressed in black, and from somewhere nearby, the man’s voice continued to talk softly to the woman. Eventually they both left, but it left the storyteller chilled to the bone. It’s hard to imagine what would have happened if she had let them in, but it probably wouldn’t have been pleasant.
6. The Lost Child
A young woman was walking down her street on a normal spring day when she saw a small child sitting beside the road and crying. She stopped to ask the little girl if she was okay, and the girl told her that she was lost. Sniffling, the girl then asked her if she could help her find her way home. Overwhelmed with pity for the little girl, the young woman readily agreed. Luckily, the little girl knew her address and had a general idea of where her home was. Before long the two had made it to her house. The front door was locked, and since the girl was too small to reach the doorbell, she asked the young woman to press it for her.The woman pressed the doorbell without a second thought, and immediately felt a powerful shock course through her body. It knocked her out cold, and she woke up several hours later completely naked and surrounded by used condoms. The house she was in was empty, her rapists were long gone, and the child was nowhere to be seen.
7. The Hitchhiking Old Woman
This story tells of a young woman who was walking out of a shopping mall late at night to go back to her car. As she neared the car, she was startled to see an old lady standing right next to her passenger-side window. An instant later, she noticed that the passenger-side window had been completely shattered. The old lady explained that she had seen her broken window and had been watching it for her to make sure nobody tried to steal something.The young woman was very appreciative of the old lady’s help and, since the old lady had missed her bus, she agreed to drive her back home. However, as they stood there talking, she noticed that the old woman seemed to have very hairy, manlike arms. Thinking quickly, she jumped in front of a slow-moving car, forcing it to a stop. The “old lady” quickly bolted. When the police searched her car they found that the kind old lady had stowed a knife and a coil of rope on the backseat.
8. The Fat Vampires
Stories of fat vampires are not new. These creatures were called pishtacos and are a classic Peruvian legend. They are known to stalk the night on deserted roads and use their magic to rob travelers of their fat. Recently, the legend has resurfaced due to actual arrests of gang members in Peru who are purported to have been bonking unruly travelers on the head, then taking them to a safe house and rendering them into fat to sell on the black market. Some estimates say that as many as 60 people fell prey to these gangsters before they were caught.Of course, some question the official story, partly because most of the attributed murders have not been proven, but mostly because they have trouble believing that there’s any kind of market for human fat. It was also considered strange that these men had no interest in selling any of the other, more valuable body parts. Perhaps the answer lies in the legend itself. The pishtacos would not have any interest in other organs, and selling the rendered human fat would be a good cover for their true operation—feeding on the fat of the living so they can sustain their undead immortal
9. Don’t Open The Door
A woman was up late at night, just minding her own business and browsing the Internet in her living room, when she heard the sound of a baby crying outside her doorstep. She got up and went to investigate the noise, but could see nothing through the keyhole. Understandably, she found it odd that a baby would be crying outside her suburban home, especially so late at night. Not sure what to do, she decided to just call the police. She told them that she was considering opening the door to check on the baby because she had heard the crying near her window and was afraid that the baby might crawl into the street.Practically shouting, the dispatcher told her that under absolutely no circumstances should she open the door, and that they already had police on their way to her house. When they got there, the police found no baby or any evidence that a child had been nearby at all. The policemen informed the worried homeowner that they had received multiple calls like this lately, and that they believed it to be the work of people who were trying to trick women into opening their homes using a recording of a crying child.
10. The Scream Nobody Heard
At some college campuses, it’s apparently a tradition for students who live in dorms to all let loose with a scream at a designated time. According to the stories, it helps the students release stress, especially during finals week. On finals week at UCLA, the tradition was for everybody to scream at midnight to let out all that pent-up frustration. So, just as expected, everyone did their screaming ritual and the campus rang with the caffeine-fueled howls of a horde of exhausted youths.The ritual complete, the campus quieted down and everyone eventually went to bed, only to discover the next morning that one of the screams had been real. A young woman had been raped at precisely midnight, her assault timed to coincide with the noisiest moment of the year. Nobody heard it, because what’s one scream among hundreds? Legend has it that since then, the screaming tradition has been banned from the UCLA campus, and anyone who breaks the rule is punished with expulsion.
11. The Choking Doberman
This urban legend comes from Sydney, Australia, and features a bizarre story regarding a choking Doberman dog. One night, a couple who had been out for a few too many drinks came home to find their dog choking in the living room. The man panicked and fainted, but the woman decided to call her old friend, a vet, and arranged to drop the dog off at the vet clinic.After dropping off the dog, she decides to go home and get her husband into bed. It takes her a while to do this, and in the meantime, the phone rings. The vet screams hysterically that they need to get out of the house immediately. So without any clue as to what’s going on, the couple leave the house as quickly as possible. As they come down the stairs, several policemen run up to meet them. When the woman ask what the problem is, a policeman gently tells her that the dog was choking on a man’s finger. A burglar must still be present in their home. Soon enough, the former owner of the finger is found unconscious in the bedroom.
12. The Suicidal Boyfriend
This story, also known as “The Boyfriend’s Death” has many different variations and has been interpreted as a more generalized warning not to stray too far from the safety of home. Our version takes us to Paris in the 1960s. A girl and her boyfriend—both of them college students—are making out in his car. They have parked near the Forest of Rambouillet so that they won’t be seen by anyone. When they’re finished, the boy gets out to take some fresh air and smoke a cigarette, and the girl waits for him in the safety of the car.After waiting for five minutes, the girl gets out of the car to look for her boyfriend. Suddenly, she sees a man in the shadows. Frightened, she gets back into the car to drive away—but as she does this, she hears a very faint squeak, followed by more squeaks.This continues for a few seconds, until the girl decides that she has no choice but to drive off. She hits the gas as hard as possible, but can’t go anywhere; someone has tied a rope from the bumper of the car to a nearby tree.Finally, the girl slams on the gas again and then hears a loud scream. She gets out of the car and realizes that her boyfriend is hanging from the tree. It turns out that the squeaky noises were made by his shoes, scraping across the top of the car.
13. The Slit-Mouthed Woman
There is a legend in Japan and China about a girl called Kuchisake-Onna, also known as the slit-mouthed woman. Some say that she was a samurai’s wife. One day, she cheated on her husband with a younger and better-looking man. When the husband returned, he discovered her betrayal; enraged and furious, he took his sword and slit her mouth ear-to-ear.Some say that the woman was cursed to never die, and still wanders the world so that people can see the horrible scar on her face and pity her. Some people claim that others have actually seen a very beautiful young lady, who asked them: “Am I pretty?” And once they replied positively, she ripped off the surgical mask, and showed them her horrible wound. She then asked the same question—and anyone who no longer found her pretty was met by tragic death from her hands.There are two morals to this story: a compliment won’t cost you a thing, and honesty isn’t necessarily the best policy.
14. Crybaby Bridge
According to this legend, a couple was driving home from church with their baby, arguing about something. The rain was falling in torrents, and they soon found themselves having to drive over a flooded bridge. As they started across, the water was deeper than they first thought, so they got stuck and decided to get out of the car to find help. The woman stayed behind, but left the car for reasons we can only guess at.While her back was turned to the car, she heard her baby crying out loudly. She returned to the vehicle, only to find that her baby had been carried away by the water. According to the same legend, if you go to that same bridge you can still hear the baby crying (the bridge’s location is conveniently unknown).
15. Zanfretta’s Alien Abduction
Fortunato Zanfretta’s abduction story has become one of the most famous urban legends in Italy over the last few decades.According to his own accounts (originally made while under hypnosis), Zanfretta was abducted by aliens called Dragos from the planet Teetonia, and experienced repeated abductions by the same group over a period of several years (1978-1981). As frightening or creepy as this case might sound, it seems like we can paint a more optimistic picture of the intentions of these visitors when we consider the words of Zanfretta during one hypnosis section:“I know you are trying to come more frequently . . . no, you can’t come to Earth, people get scared if they look at you. You can’t make friendship. Please go.”Zanfretta has probably given more details about his alien abduction than any other person in history; his detailed accounts may cause even the most vehement skeptic to pause for thought. To this day, the Zanfretta case remains one of the most curious and fascinating ‘x-files’ around the world.
16. The White Death
This is a story about a little girl in Scotland who hated life so much that she wanted to destroy every last trace of herself. She finally decided to commit suicide, and shortly afterwards her family found out what she’d done.In a horrible twist, every member of her family died only a few days later too, their limbs torn apart. The legend says that when you learn about the White Death, the girl’s ghost might come and find you, and knock repeatedly on your door. Each knock gets louder, till you open the door and she kills you for fear that you’ll tell someone else of her existence; her main goal is to prevent anyone from knowing about her.Like most urban legends, the story is probably nothing more than the wild imagination of a modern Aesop—but all the same, it’s always good practice to find out who’s standing behind the door.
17. The Black Volga
A black Volga automobile was supposedly spotted frequently in the streets of Warsaw back in the 1960s—packed with kidnappers who were bent on snatching children. According to the legend (and helped along by Western propaganda, no doubt) high-ranking Soviet officials drove the black volga in Moscow during the mid 1930s, kidnapping young, pretty girls for the sexual pleasure of the highest ranking Soviet comrades. Another version of this legend tells us that vampires, mysterious priests, Satanists, body venders—and even Satan himself—drove the black volga car.According to different versions, children were kidnapped with the intention of using their blood as a cure for rich leukemia sufferers around the world. Of course, none of these versions were ever found to be true.
18. The Greek Soldier
This lesser-known legend tells us of a Greek soldier who, after WWII, was returning home to marry his fiancee. Unfortunately for him, he was captured by fellow Greeks who had hostile political beliefs, tortured for five weeks, and finally eventually murdered. In the early 1950s—mainly in North and Central Greece—there were stories about a very attractive Greek soldier in uniform, who appeared and disappeared overnight, seducing beautiful widows and virgin girls with the sole purpose of impregnating them.Five weeks after the babies were born, the man would disappear for good—leaving a letter on the table explaining that he had returned from the dead merely to spread his seed, so that his sons might avenge his murder.
19. Elisa Day
In medieval Europe, there apparently lived a young woman named Elisa Day, whose beauty was like that of the wild roses that grew down the river, all bloody and red. One day, a young man came into town and instantly fell in love with Elisa. They dated for three days. On the first day, he visited her at her house. On the second, he brought her a single red rose and asked her to meet him where the wild roses grow. On the third day, he took her down to the river—where he killed her. The horrible man supposedly waited till her back was turned, then took a rock in his fist, whispering, “All beauty must die”—and with one swift blow, he killed her instantly. He placed a rose between her teeth, and slid her body into the river. Some people claim to have seen her ghost wandering the riverside, blood running down the side of her head, a single rose in her hand.
20. The Well to Hell
Sometime in 1989, Russian scientists in Siberia drilled a borehole some 14.5 kilometers deep into the Earth’s crust. The drill broke through into a cavity, and the scientists lowered some equipment to see what was down there. The temperature was more than one thousand degrees celsius—but the real shocker was the sound recorded by their instruments.They only captured about seventeen horrifying seconds of audio before the microphone melted. Convinced that they’d heard the screams of the damned in Hell, many of the scientists quit the job immediately—or so at least the story goes. Those who stayed were in for an even bigger shock later that night. A plume of luminous gas burst out of the borehole, the shape of a gigantic winged demon unfolded, and the words “I have conquered” in Russian were seared into the flames. Even though today it is considered to be a hoax, there are many who believe that this incident really happened; the “Well to Hell” urban legend remains alive to this day.
21. Flashing Headlight Initiation
You’ve all probably heard this one before. It’s late at night, and a driver notices a car approaching from the opposite direction without its headlights on, so he flashes his lights to alert the other car. As he passes, the dark car makes a U-turn and begins following the Good Samaritan, and as soon as he stops, gang members exit and gun the driver down as a part of some twisted initiation.This story has found its way not only across the Internet but into the local news as well, being issued as a warning from various news outlets and sheriff’s departments. So where did this account find its roots? Although not gang-related, someone did die after a car was signaled to put its lights on. In 1992 in Stockton, California, a school district employee by the name of Kelly Freed was shot after the driver of the car in which she was traveling, Will Fitts, gestured to a car next to them that did not have its lights on.The occupants of the second car, 16-year-old Adrian Gutierrez and 15-year-old Carlos Ojeda, took the gesture as an insult, so Gutierrez shot at Fitts’s car. They chased Fitts and his passengers into the parking lot of a department store. Gutierrez then fired off another shot from the window of his car. As it happened, that shot hit Freed, piercing her lung and heart. Some say this is where the story originated, while others say the tale was around long before that, but either way, the incident became a catalyst for the fire, and over the years, the urban legend has grown in both detail and scope.
22. Death By Wedgie
How many times have we heard this? “I heard about this guy who gave a dude an atomic wedgie so severe that it killed the kid!” According to legend, the underwear was pulled up so high and tight that it caused severe trauma to the rectum, which somehow lead to death. The true story, however, is a bit more interesting and makes a little more sense.In 2013, Oklahoman Brad Lee Davis got into an argument with his stepfather, Denver St. Clair. As the argument grew more heated, Davis decided to handle things the old-fashioned way, by yanking his stepdad’s underwear up and then pulling it over his head. This move was the mythical atomic wedgie, not to be confused with a standard wedgie. As it happened, the elastic band of the underwear wrapped around Denver’s throat, cutting off his airway, and he suffocated. In 2015, Davis pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the incident.
23. Tainted Halloween Candy
Halloween is a special night. It’s a night that allows our children a certain amount of freedom as we send them out the door, dressed in their scariest best, to torment the neighbors and gather goodies. Over the years, tales of tainted candy have emerged. Among the most famous is that of a child-hating miser who decides he’s had enough of the irritating little brats, so he pulls out a pack of straight razors and, one by one, inserts them into a group of apples. When the children knock on his door later that evening, he delivers them the tainted fruit. Later that night, as the kids bite into their spoils, they are stunned to find the surprise center. Some get off easy and simply chip a tooth, but others aren’t so fortunate, and the razors render them speechless, literally.There are multiple stories circulating of objects embedded in Halloween treats, most of which turn out to be little more than pranks played by the children themselves, but the one thought to have started the tainted candy craze took place in Texas back in 1974, when a man named Ronald O’Bryan handed out Pixy Stix laced with cyanide to five children, one of whom was his own eight-year-old son. His motive? It would seem that O’Bryan had just taken out a life insurance policy on his kids.Luckily, the poison was discovered before most of the children were harmed, but unfortunately, O’Bryan’s son died from ingesting it. O’Bryan was sentenced to death (it was Texas after all) and was executed by lethal injection. The effects of his actions, however, were felt across the United States, planting thoughts into the minds of parents everywhere.
24. Cooked To Death In The Tanning Bed
No woman wants to look bad for a wedding, but sometimes, time slips past us. So, what is a woman to do when she needs to get tanned in a matter of three days, but the tanning salons have limits on how long she can stay in the bed? She goes around to as many salons as she can find, of course. In this story, a young lady facing a pasty complexion at a formal event hits up every tanning salon in town within a 36-hour period so that she can look her best on the big day, and it works! She attends the wedding browned and beautiful.The next day, she wakes up not feeling so great, and she notices an odd, almost burned smell, so she decides to go see her doctor. After running a few tests, the doctor drops a bomb on her. All those visits to the tanning bed in such a short amount of time have cooked her internal organs. The girl now has less than a week before her body will shut down, and she will die.The first thing we need to point out is that tanning beds don’t work this way. Tanning beds use UV light, and the story is more akin to microwaves, but that doesn’t mean tanning beds can’t be lethal. Tanning beds deliver two to 12 times the amount of UV radiation that one would get standing in the midday sun.On May 24, 1989, Indiana native Patsy Campbell passed away due to burns inflicted after spending 25 minutes in a tanning bed 11 days earlier. It was, more or less, an accident, as Campbell was taking a drug to help treat psoriasis that made her more sensitive to light. Two days after her tanning session, she began to break out in blisters. The UV rays, combined with the medication, caused her to suffer burns on over 70 percent of her body. It was the first documented case of a fatality due to a tanning booth.Others have suffered as well. In 2007, a woman in Australia, Clare Oliver, succumbed to the effects of melanoma, which she claimed was a direct result of over-tanning.
25. They Stole My Kidney
A man is away on a business trip. His meeting has gone well, and he has headed back to his hotel, where he decides to unwind with a few drinks down at the bar. While he is there, he meets a mysterious woman. They get to talking end eventually head back to the man’s room for a different kind of a nightcap. Things seem to be going great until the man blacks out. The next thing he knows, he is waking up in a bathtub filled with ice. He then notices a sharp pain in his back. He reaches around and feels a long scar. Finally, he manages to pull himself out and call 911. Paramedics arrive and discover someone has removed the man’s kidney.It’s a sensational story of organ harvesting and the black market sales of body parts, but it isn’t completely without merit. The story itself has been circulating since the early 1990s, and many people attribute part of its origins to a Turkish man named Ahmet Koc, who, in 1989, claimed he had traveled to London for a job. Once there, he said he went for a medical check and was given what he believed to be an injection for a blood test but turned out to be a sedative. He woke up the next morning with a kidney missing. He was told not to worry and that he would be compensated for the missing organ.As it turns out, Ahmet’s story was a little misleading. The truth was that he had agreed to sell the kidney but felt he was paid unfairly, so he concocted the “stolen organ” tale to get back at the doctors who had performed the surgery. At least three doctors were found guilty of medical misconduct, and Koc was left feeling a bit empty in more ways than one.
26. Humans Can Lick Too
An absolutely unforgettable creepy campfire story is that of a dog that would lie at the side of the bed, and every time the girl sleeping there would hear a noise, she would reach her hand over to the canine. The dog would lick it, and, reassured that she was safe, the girl would drift back to sleep. When she woke up the next morning, she found the dog dead. Written on her mirror were the words, “Humans can lick, too.”The true version of this story doesn’t involve a dog, but there is still an eerie similarity. In July 2014, a teenager in Ellesmere Port, England, began receiving texts from a young man, who said he was watching her. The texts began to grow more intense, and the man, who was eventually identified as Kyle Ravenscroft, even went so far as to tell her that he was in her house and that he was going to hang himself in the tree outside her window so that when she woke up the following morning, she would see his body swinging there.Understandably shaken, the teen slept in her mother’s room that night. When they entered her room the next morning, they did not find a body in the tree. They did, however, find Ravenscroft hiding beneath the bed, where he had apparently slept all night. He was chased out of the house and eventually caught by local authorities.
27. Someone Is Living In The Attic
How about the story of a family who comes home from a trip to find that things in their home seem to be out of place. They write it off, but over the next few weeks, they start to notice other weird things—odd noises in the night, food that seems to go missing, and doors or windows left open. Then, one day, one of them goes into the attic to get something, and they discover a makeshift bed, a pile of rotting leftovers, and the remnants of a squatter. They call the authorities, but the unwanted guest is never found.In 1922, in the small farming community of Hinterkaifeck, Germany, the Gruber family found themselves in this exact situation. It started when Andreas Gruber told a group of friends about a set of suspicious footprints in the snow. He said they came out of the forest and led up to the farmhouse, but there were no footprints leading away. Over the next few days, he noticed little things, odd objects around that he didn’t recognize, strange sounds in the attic at night, and even a set of keys that went missing.Andreas never reported the suspicious activities to the police, which turned out to be a mistake. On March 31, Andreas, his wife Cazilia, their daughter Viktoria, and Viktoria’s daughter were lured into the barn one by one and murdered. The killer then made his way into the house and killed Viktoria’s son and the family maid. When the family was eventually reported missing, and authorities went to investigate, they found that the killer had continued living in the house for days before fleeing. He was never captured.
28. He’s In Your Back Seat
A woman pulls into a gas station and fills her tank up. She goes in and pays for her purchase and then walks back out, climbs into her car, and drives off. She hasn’t gone far when she sees another car quickly approaching from behind, its lights flashing frantically and the horn blasting. At first, she’s frightened, but as the car gets closer, it becomes apparent that the driver seems concerned, so she pulls over. The driver of the second car rushes over to her window and tells her he was trying to get her attention because he noticed something was wrong with her rear wheel. She gets out to look, and as they reach the back of the car, he tells her the faulty rear wheel was just a ruse and that the truth is that he saw someone climb into the back seat of her car while she was inside the gas station. Sure enough, there is a man ducked down in the floorboards. His intention was to kidnap or even kill the driver.The true story is almost as frightening. On February 28, 2017, a woman from Kansas City, Missouri, called the police, saying she’d just escaped from a man who had kidnapped her. According to the report, the woman had been sitting in her own home when a strange girl burst through the front door, said the word “Megan,” and then turned around and left. The woman was shaken and completely confused. She went to the front office of the community where she lived and reported the odd occurrence. She then left with the intention of stopping by a nearby gas station, but almost immediately, she realized there was someone hiding in the back seat of her car. It was a man dressed in all black and wearing a ski mask.She said the man claimed to have a gun, and, pressing something against the back of her head, he told her to drive and began giving her directions, eventually leading her to a remote location. While she drove, he wrapped cable around her hands. Once they arrived in front of a gate, he wrapped more cable around her neck and began assaulting her, beating the back of her head and cutting her arms and hands. Eventually, the man climbed out of the back seat and started toward her door. She threw the car into drive and took off, making it to a gas station, where she called the police. The man was never caught.
29. Body In The Bed
In this tale, a couple driving across the country decides to stop for the night in a small roadside motel. When they enter their room, they notice a rotten, musty smell. They investigate but find nothing. Trying to pass it off, they climb into bed, but the smell just seems to be getting stronger. Finally, they get up and push back the mattress of the bed. To their horror, they discover a corpse decaying in the bed frame.You can’t get more on the nose than this one. In 2010, a woman by the name of Sony Millbrook was reported missing after relatives noticed she hadn’t picked up her kids from school. Millbrook, her children, and her boyfriend had been renting a room at the Budget Lodge in Memphis, Tennessee.After several days without any word, staff members at the motel entered her room, boxed up her belongings, and claimed to clean the room. Police questioned the motel employees but didn’t take the investigation any further.A couple of days later, the room was rented out. Over the next few weeks, it would be rented out three times. Occupants noticed an odd smell. A few even tried burning incense, and the staff attempted to cover the smell with fabric softener sheets shoved in ceiling tiles, but no one ever managed to put two and two together.The body was finally discovered on March 15 under the mattress and box springs. Millbrook’s boyfriend, LaKeith Moody, who had also been missing, was eventually found driving Millbrook’s car. He was arrested, and the Memphis Police Department launched an internal investigation to see if any mistakes were made in handling of the case.It makes one wonder if any of the families who stayed in the room were given a voucher for a free night.
30. Santa’s Stuck In The Chimney
The Christmas season is in full bloom, and a man decides he wants to surprise his family. He goes into town and rents a Santa costume. Then, on Christmas Eve night, he climbs up on the roof, makes his way to the chimney, and begins his decent. He wants to make a grand entrance, bursting through the opened fireplace and belting out “Ho Ho Ho,” but halfway down, he slips and becomes lodged. Stuck, and without anyone knowing his plan, the man remains there, his muffled cries going unheard. Days pass. The family reports their father missing, but little can be done. Then, one cold night, the mother goes to start a fire. She notices an odd odor, and the flue seems to be stuck. Upon further investigation, she finds her husband’s body still trapped inside.This story was so popular it even managed to make its way into the 1984 movie Gremlins, and while there aren’t any known reports of a Santa stuck in a chimney, it doesn’t mean this one is completely without merit.In 1986, a burglar got trapped while trying to enter a home down the chimney. Neighbors reported hearing someone yelling for help, but no one could figure out where it was coming from. Days passed, and workers in the area began to hear a tapping sound, but much like the yelling two days prior, they were unable to track down the origin of the sound. It wasn’t until the homeowner noticed a rotten smell four days later that the body was discovered.Then, in 2015, a similar case was reported after a burglar in California managed to get himself stuck in a chimney while attempting to break into a home. Unaware of the would-be intruder, the homeowner started a fire. The thief began to scream, and the house filled with smoke. The homeowner called 911, and when the authorities arrived, the intruder appeared to still be alive. However, by the time they finally dismantled the chimney enough to remove him, he had succumbed to smoke inhalation. These are just a few examples of the true stories behind some of our favorite urban legends, but there are plenty more out there. So the next time you’re sitting around with a group of friends, and someone begins telling a creepy story, just remember, there is a seed of truth in every myth.
31. El Silbon
As told in Venezuela and Colombia, El Silbon is a tale about a creature that has been damned to roam the Earth carrying a bag of bones.The creature was once a little boy who lived with his parents in Venezuela. Being an only child, he was spoiled to no end by his parents. Unfortunately, this turned him into a picky and demanding brat.After insisting on deer meat for dinner one night and becoming extremely angry when his father failed to produce it, the boy stabbed his father in the stomach, pulled out his intestines, and took them to his mother to cook. Although the mother cooked the entrails, she eventually became suspicious at the look of the meat. Realizing what the boy had done, the mother was overcome with grief and let the boy’s grandfather deal with the evil child. The grandfather whipped the boy within an inch of his life and then rubbed chilies and lemon juice in his wounds. Then the grandfather handed the boy a bag full of his father’s bones and set a pack of dogs loose on him as the boy ran away. Just before the dogs killed the boy, the grandfather cursed him. And that was the origin of the creature known as El Silbon.It is said that El Silbon still roams around, whistling and entering homes without anyone noticing. He puts the bag of bones on the floor and counts them inside the home. If he goes unnoticed, a member of the family in that house will die. However, if the family does notice him, the boy turns their bad fortune into good luck.
32. Japanese Suicide Drawing
The most disturbing Japanese urban legends often originate in Asia, with some turned into even creepier horror movies. In one such legend, a teenage Japanese girl drew a beautiful color picture of a young girl who seemingly stares directly at you. The teen posted the picture online and, for some unknown reason, committed suicide shortly afterward. Soon, people started commenting online that they could see sadness and even anger in the eyes of the drawn girl. Others said that her lips would start curling into a smirk the longer you looked at her and a ring would form around her. Some people took it even further, saying that there were unfortunate souls who stared at the picture for more than five minutes and ended up taking their own lives.
As depicted in pictures and movies throughout the years, horses are beautiful creatures. However, if you visit Iceland and spot a gray horse standing next to a massive body of water such as the sea or even a lake, do yourself a favor and look at the horse’s hooves. If they face backward, you have a little problem.It is said that this horse, named Nykur, is a water-dwelling beast that sometimes surfaces to lure unsuspecting humans to a watery death. His skin is sticky. So if a person is enchanted by the horse and mounts it, he will not be able to get off again. Instead, he will be dragged along to Nykur’s underwater home and drowned.Yelling its name at the horse is said to scare it into running back into the water alone.
34. The Baby In The High Chair
This urban legend is told all over the world but seems to have some of its roots in Norway. For many years, a Norwegian couple didn’t go on a proper holiday. Finally, when everything fell into place one year, they found a trustworthy nanny for their baby boy and planned a long holiday.When the day came for them to depart, the nanny was late. She eventually called to tell them that her car was giving her trouble. However, she said that she could call a mechanic and then walk to their home as she was only about 15 minutes away.Reassured by this, the couple strapped their baby to his high chair, kissed him goodbye, and then left for their holiday as they were already late for the airport. They left the back door open for the nanny.One version of the tale has it that the nanny arrived to find the door locked (blown shut by the wind), so she assumed the couple had the baby with them. She then left.Another version says that the nanny was killed after being hit by a truck on her way to the house. Yet another says that the nanny was an elderly relative of the couple and she died of a heart attack before she could get to their home.In every version, the couple returned home to find their son dead and bloated, still strapped to his high chair.
35. The Studley Girl
The scariest urban legends are the ones that hit close to home. Three years ago, a reddit user recounted the tale that scared him throughout his childhood and teenage years. He lives in the town of Mechanicsville, Virginia, which has a winding road called Studley Road.Years ago, a little girl lived in a small house on this road with her mother and alcoholic father. Flying into a rage one night, the man beat his wife and child to death and then shot himself.With her broken jaw hanging from her face, the little girl didn’t die immediately. Instead, she made her way down Studley Road looking for help before eventually collapsing, blood staining the front of her pajamas. Now, when you take one of Studley Road’s winding turns that lead into the woods, you can see the specter of the little girl slowly moving down the road with her back turned to you.Unsuspecting drivers who don’t know about the legend have pulled over to help her, only for her to turn around and let out an unearthly scream from her loose-hanging jaw. Sometimes, she also gurgles through the blood still streaming from her mouth.
36. Ghost Wagon
South Africa has its fair share of urban legends, which include the hitchhiker of Uniondale and The Flying Dutchman. However, a creepier one goes all the way back to 1887. Major Alfred Ellis contributed this tale, which is still told today, to South African Sketches.Four men—Lutterodt, Seururier, Anthony de Heer, and an unnamed visitor from Cape Town—undertook a journey from Ceres to Beaufort West by wagon. This area was known as the spokeveld (“ghost region”) and was even indicated as such on old South Africa maps.During their trip, one of the wagon wheels suddenly gave out and it took them until 3:00 AM to get it fixed. They were hardly on the road again when their horses became agitated and eventually froze in place, unwilling to move any farther.From out of nowhere, the men heard the sound of a wagon coming toward them at high speed. When they finally caught sight of it, they witnessed a driver cracking a whip at 14 horses as the wagon headed directly for them. The unnamed visitor, Seururier, and Lutterodt jumped from the wagon, but de Heer grabbed the reins and successfully moved his wagon out of the path of the other speeding wagon.Annoyed, de Heer yelled after the other driver: “Where do you think you are going?” To which the other driver replied, “To hell.” Then he and his wagon disappeared into thin air.Later, Lutterodt said that they only realized afterward that anyone who dared to challenge the spooky driver of the disappearing wagon would be doomed. A week after the incident, they found de Heer’s body at the bottom of a cliff. The remains of his wagon and the carcasses of his dead horses surrounded him.
37. Baby Blue
In the same vein as Bloody Mary, Baby Blue is a legend that originated from a tale in which a psychotic mother killed her baby boy with a shard of mirror glass. Naturally, there are those who would like to conjure up the spirit of Baby Blue (which is what the unnamed baby was dubbed).The ritual to do this includes going into a bathroom at night, fogging up the mirror, and writing “Baby Blue” on it. Then the light must be turned off, and the person who wrote the name on the mirror should hold out his arms as if a baby were in them. The spirit of the baby will then appear in his open arms. If the person drops the baby, the mirror will shatter and the person will die.Another version of the tale says that if you go into a dark bathroom and chant “Baby Blue” 13 times while rocking your arms back and forth, the baby will appear and scratch you. However, dropping the baby and running away is the best idea this time as his psychotic mother will appear in the mirror and kill you otherwise.
38. Poinciana Woman
One of the most unsettling urban myths to come out of Australia tells the story of a young woman who was raped by Japanese fishermen at Darwin’s East Point. When she realized she was pregnant, she was horrified and hanged herself from a poinciana tree.Her restless spirit started stalking men in East Point, appearing to them as a beautiful vision in white. However, as soon as the men are entranced by her, she turns into a fearful hag with long claws, eviscerates them, and eats their intestines.For those who are brave, the poinciana woman can be summoned by spinning around three times on a dark, moonless night and calling out her name. Her distinctive scream will let you know that she has been successfully summoned.
39. The Devil’s Toy Box
The Hellraiser movies are said to have inspired a terrifying legend making the rounds in America. It is alleged that there is a one-room cabin called the Devil’s Toy Box in Louisiana that contains a bunch of mirrors from the floor to the roof. According to the tale, if a person goes into the cabin and stays too long, the Devil will appear and take that person’s soul.During their investigations, paranormal researchers found that the mirrors make up the six sides of the cabin but they face inward. It is said that no one can stay in there longer than five minutes.One man stayed over four minutes, came out mute, and never spoke again. A woman allegedly suffered cardiac arrest while inside the cabin, and a teenage boy had to be forcibly removed while kicking and screaming. He killed himself two weeks later.
40. Teke Teke
According to an especially frightening legend from Japan, a female office worker was raped and beaten by American military men in Hokkaido a few years after World War II. The young woman jumped off a bridge that evening and was hit by a train on the railroad tracks below.Her body was severed in half at the waist. As the extremely cold weather prevented her from bleeding out immediately, she managed to drag her upper half to a train station where a shocked attendant threw a plastic tarp over her. She eventually died in extreme agony. Urban legend now has it that three days after you hear or read about this tale, the ghost of the young woman will appear to you, making a teke teke sound as she crawls toward you on her arms. You cannot outrun her as she can reach speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour (93 mph).Her mission is to catch as many people as she can. Then she will cut off and steal the lower halves of their bodies. The only way to escape certain death is to answer her questions. If she asks whether you need your legs, you must reply that you need them right now. And if she asks who told you her story, you must answer, “Kashima Reiko.”
41. Dead Mouse In Soda
This legend has many different variations, likely due to the incredible amount of people who have actually tried to sue soft drink companies over allegedly finding all or most of a mouse or rat in their soda. The most recent one was a man who bought a can of Mountain Dew from a vending machine at work. After taking a hearty swig, he realized there something was horribly, horribly wrong about the taste. He spit it out and found a dead mouse curled up inside his previously sealed can of soda.He sued PepsiCo after the alleged incident, citing trauma and stress caused by getting a mouthful of dead mouse. However, PepsiCo’s defense is possibly the most disturbing part of this tale. The company supplied an expert witness who explained that the man’s claims were quite literally impossible. According to this expert, the mouse’s body would have been completely dissolved and impossible to distinguish as anything but jelly after spending so long in an acidic soda like Mountain Dew.
42. The Beehive Hairdo
This legend very likely predates the Internet, as the beehive hairstyle hasn’t been popular since the 1960s. The story goes that a teenager was preparing for an upcoming dance and really wanted to make her hair stand out, so she used sugar water in her hair in an effort to keep it really stiff. She then wrapped it up tightly overnight in a coiling beehive shape. The next day, her hair looked just as good as she had hoped, and she continued with life as usual.As the weeks went on, she started to become a little obsessed with her ‘do. She did whatever it took to keep it looking nice, including not shampooing the sugar water out of her hair. She started to get headaches and just feel physically terrible in general. She didn’t understand what was going on, but she failed to see a doctor. Eventually, she collapsed as rivers of blood ran from under her hair. Upon examination, it turned out that she had a colony of bugs living under her hair and literally eating her alive.
43. Licking Envelope Leads To Parasites
Our story goes that a woman had licked an envelope and received a painful paper cut. For a while, she didn’t think anything of it because it was just a small cut, but it continued to be painful for a long time. It even started to swell. It eventually got so bad that she knew she needed to go to the hospital. The doctor who examined her saw the swelling on her tongue and decided to operate right then and there, either to remove the lump or drain pus. (It varies depending on the version of the tale.) As the woman sat wide awake and the doctor prepared to make an incision, a live cockroach crawled its monstrous way out of her mouth in one of the most horrifying birth cycles imaginable.
44. Snake Measures Its Owner
This story involves a couple who had a very large pet python but didn’t bother keeping it locked up. They kept the snake properly fed, they reasoned, so there wasn’t much to worry about. Eventually, the snake stopped eating for a while, and they wondered if he was sick. Even stranger, they started finding their pet lying out lengthwise next to them. They decided to take the snake to the vet to find out the cause of this disturbing behavior. Alarmingly, the vet told them that they needed to get rid of the snake right away. When they asked why, he explained that the snake had been measuring them and starving himself in preparation to gorge himself on some fresh, delicious human owner.
45. Termites Spread Through Mulch
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, an urban legend was going around that had a lot of homeowners running scared. According to an email forward, many of the trees that had fallen in the hurricane were being turned into cheap mulch that was coming soon to a store near you. Unfortunately, this mulch likely contained large numbers of Formosan termites.This legend has a grain of truth to it, as termites could potentially spread through mulch. However, the particular story is unlikely. New Orleans has carefully quarantined any wood that might be infested with termites.
46. Child’s Brain Gets Infested With Ants
Our tale begins with a small boy who was tired from playing and decided to lie down for a nap. He fell asleep with some candy scattered around near him, and this attracted some ants that were nearby. The little boy woke up unaware that anything was amiss until he started to feel itchy. As time went on, the itchiness got worse, and he started to get headaches. When the headaches got worse and nothing would make the itchiness go away, the little guy’s mother took him to the hospital.At first, the doctor was utterly baffled by the problem. After taking an X-ray of the child’s head, he discovered that ants had crawled into the child’s brain and formed an entire colony. Because the insects were crawling all around his brain, the colony was inoperable, and the little fella did not survive. Of course, leaving candy lying around actually results in little more than some inconvenience and a can of Raid, so this tall tale was no doubt invented by some very cruel and lazy mothers.
47. The Unexpected Computer Failure
The story goes that an older woman, the type who’s not likely to be very computer-savvy, called tech support with a serious problem. The night before, she had started hearing rather strange hissing sounds coming from her computer. She explained that when the noises began, she decided to shut down the machine for the night and see if it just needed a rest. When she tried to restart the computer the next morning, it emitted more of the same strange hissing sounds and began to smoke. The support tech quickly realized they were out of their depth over the phone and sent someone to the old woman’s house to deal with the problem. When the technician opened the case, they found a snake curled up inside: It had been attracted to the power source.Pictures of the so-called snake in the computer have been going around for a while and are actually apparently legit. However, the details of the true story are quite different from the legend. It actually took place in an office in Australia, not an elderly woman’s home. While the snake was a venomous red-bellied black snake, it didn’t prove to be very dangerous, because it turns out that snakes can’t survive large amounts of electricity coursing through their slithery, slimy bodies.
48. Restaurant Closed For Serving Mice And Rats
The story starts in Atlanta, Georgia, and surrounds a small chain of Chinese restaurants. Imagine you’ve just eaten at your local Asian-American food joint. After you go home, you check the news and see them mentioned. Your stomach starts to turn as you learn that one franchise of the chain restaurant you just visited was shut down for having some very strange secret ingredients in their food.The police had received a tip about some suspicious imports the restaurant had been receiving and decided to investigate. Upon searching the restaurant, the police found evidence that the owners of the establishment had secretly been serving mice and rats to their customers. They also found puppies and kittens ready to be cooked and served as food. The legends often include pictures of some of the packaged, frozen rodents, but there is no evidence of such a closure occurring.
49. Snake Sewn Into Lining Of Coat
According to legend, a woman visited a local discount clothing outlet to try on new winter coats. While wearing one of them, she felt a strange prick on her skin. Instead of inspecting the coat further, she simply put it back and went about her day. Before long, she fell ill and eventually ended up in a coma. Though the coma lasts several weeks in the tale, she is somehow able to ascertain what happened. The winter coat she had been trying on was imported from another country and had a deadly viper sewn into the lining.The story is a bit over-the-top, as it seems impossible for a snake to survive a trip overseas alive while trapped inside a coat. Strangely, though, this tale is widely believed, with outlets like Burlington Coat Factory receiving calls on a regular basis to ask questions about the story.
50. The Deadly Stick
A woman in Texas was supposedly out walking her dog when it started sniffing around a twig near their garage. The dog recoiled in pain, and the woman realized the “twig” was actually an insect known as a walking stick. At first, she didn’t think much of it, but then her dog’s eye started swelling up badly. When she took him to the vet, she found out that the poor dog had a chemical burn on his eye that was caused by the poison that the insect had secreted. The woman sent pictures of the insect to entomologists, who identified the specimen as a foreign walking stick that had made its way to our shores and was much more poisonous than the ones we are used to.While no evidence exists of any such foreign species, the story is plausible. There is a species of walking stick insect native to the United States that is capable of excreting a toxin that could be very painful and cause burns on sensitive areas like the eyes. Perhaps next time you are near a twig, you should keep your retinas shielded. Don’t take any walks in the woods.
51. The Grossest Cookie Ever
One legend that’s been passed around the Internet for a long time occurs in an unspecified foreign country, where a young woman purchased a package of Oreo cookies with chocolate cream. Excited to eat the delicious cookies, she opened the package and saw something very strange. Where she would normally expect pure chocolate goodness, there were small white spots all over and inside the cream. She examined the packaging but found nothing to suggest that the white dots should be there. To her horror, she realized that the entire cookie was full of maggot eggs. She returned the cookies, although some of the eggs had horrifyingly dissolved into the cream. She got her money back, but presumably her taste for Oreos was never to return.
52. The Grifter
The Grifter is an urban legend that began to circulate on the Internet in 2009. The video is said to show horrifying images of people being tortured and killed. Viewers of the movie can experience nausea, trauma, night terrors, clinical depression, and even commit suicide. The content shows the human sacrifice of small babies and images of satanic ritual abuse. In some cases, people have attempted to make a copy of the film, but have failed.It has been said that the video was recorded in the 1930s and portrays a collection of strange pictures and sounds. In one part of the movie, the words “Your race is the one that is dying” appears while a picture of a plant rotting is seen. The footage displays close up shots of corpses and people who have been possessed by demons. It has been described as the most disturbing video available on the Internet. However, many feel the tape is a hoax and nothing more than an urban legend. The story of The Grifter has spawned an Internet meme in which threads that discuss hoax videos are considered to be trolling for information on bizarre clips.
53. The Drowned Boy Of Hawaii
A small village on the Big Island of Hawaii is the center of paradise living as well as a tragedy that haunts its residents to this day. It is said that a group of children were playing alongside a pond in the village in 1947 when one boy lost his footing and fell into the water. His friends ran to get help immediately, and rescue divers were on the scene within minutes. When the divers located the boy at the bottom of the pond, they were shocked to see his lifeless body propped up on a rock. It was as though the boy was sitting calmly while waiting to be rescued. His eyes and mouth were wide open, and his body swayed along with the movement of the water. The divers shook off the chills creeping down their spines and brought the body back to the surface.While the villagers tried to forget about the tragedy and move on with their lives, it seemed that the drowned boy refused to let them. Reports soon surfaced of unseen fingers tugging at the pants of those who walked alongside the pond. People became convinced that the spirit of the dead boy had remained in the water. They believed that he wanted to drag the living into the pond to join him in his watery grave. Years passed without further incident. Then, one day, a young boy was strolling along the shore of the pond when something dragged him in. His father, who was walking ahead of the boy, turned to see his son disappearing into the water. When divers found the youngster, he was also perched on a rock with his eyes and mouth open. Fortunately, the boy was resuscitated once the divers brought him back to the surface.After this incident, villagers started hearing a plaintive cry from the pond in the darkness of night. It is rumored that the crying will continue until the boy finds a substitute to replace his spirit in the depths of the pond.
54. Beware Of Long Ear
Somalia is famous for crime, piracy, kidnapping, and terrorist attacks. The country is one of the least developed in the world, and over 70 percent of its citizens live in poverty.Mothers who raise children there go to extremes to keep their kids safe from the threats surrounding them. Hence, these ladies sometimes use the legend of Long Ear to dissuade children and teenagers from exploring the forests in Somalia, especially if they live nearby.Long Ear (aka Dhegdheer) is a cannibalistic woman who is said to prefer lost children. She hangs around forests, keeping her one long ear on the ground to hear the sound of youngsters who can’t find their way out. Should she happen upon a lost young soul, she will eat that child alive in a matter of minutes. To make the story even more terrifying for Somali kids who are thinking of disobeying their parents’ warnings, it is said that Long Ear has a special penchant for eating children who have no manners and do not listen to their parents.
55. The Rolling Calves Of Jamaica
Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean well known for its lush rain forests, fantastic beaches, pungent rum, and world-class coffee. People come from all over the world to experience all Jamaica has to offer, whether it is the breathtaking views or activities such as water sports and hikes in the beautiful greenery.However, if you find yourself yearning for a nighttime stroll while in Jamaica, keep an eye out for rolling calves. They are said to be the spirits of people who were evil in life (for some reason, butchers in particular).A rolling calf is exactly what it sounds like—a creature that resembles a calf and rolls along the road. One of its eyes is red and can spew fire. You’ll know a rolling calf is behind you when you hear the rattling of its chains. According to other versions of the legend, both eyes are red and fire spews from the creature’s nostrils. Sometimes, its hind legs are those of a goat while one foreleg is human and the other is that of a horse.Rolling calves block the way of walking travelers. Once a traveler starts running away, the creature will chase the person down with the intent to torture him.If you come face-to-face with a rolling calf, you can distract it by throwing objects on the ground for it to count. Or you can start running to the nearest crossroads and get there ahead of it.Alternatively, you can find a tarred whip and keep it handy on those nighttime walks. Beating a rolling calf with a tarred whip held in your left hand will send it running (or rolling) for the hills.
56. ‘The Price Is Three Sacks’
According to legend, a long time ago in an unnamed village in Scotland, a witch appeared from the surrounding forest to warn the villagers to stop cutting down the trees to make way for more farmland. She threatened to make all their land—as well as all the women in the village—infertile if they ignored her warning.A deal was struck between the villagers and the witch that only a small part of the forest could be cleared. In return, the villagers had to leave one sack of produce at the edge of the forest after each harvest. Things remained peaceful for centuries. Then, one day, a new generation of villagers tore down almost the entire forest to build a mill.The witch returned to promise suffering because of the broken treaty. The villagers grabbed the witch and hanged her. With her last breath, she exclaimed that the price was now three sacks of produce.The owner of the mill was terrified of the witch even after her death and dutifully placed three sacks of produce at the edge of the forest after each harvest. His crops grew abundantly, and in time, he became a father to three beautiful daughters.Eventually, however, the mill owner grew complacent and greedy. He stopped paying his due. The very next morning after he failed to pay the three sacks of produce for his harvest, his youngest daughter went missing.While the village rallied to look for the girl, the mill started running. Suddenly, the workers cried out in alarm. Between the millstones ran rivulets of blood. The mill owner’s daughter was discovered caught and crushed between them.By the 1960s, an old crumbling silo stood in place of the mill. A young boy was dared to stay in the silo overnight to determine if it was haunted by the witch or the young girl who had died in the mill.When his friends found him the next morning, they were shocked to see that the boy had broken both his ankles when he jumped from the silo loft. Asked why he had done that, he said that several empty grain bags inside the mill had “come to life” and were dragging themselves toward him to overpower him.
57. Eight Feet Tall
Japan is the center of many creepy legends. Who can forget the Slit-Mouthed Woman or Teke Teke, the ghost of a young woman who fell onto a railway line and had her body cut in half by a train?She drags the upper half of her body around on her elbows, all the while making a teke teke sound. She chases unwitting victims, and when she catches them, cuts them in half to make them suffer in the same way she did.Children are seemingly not safe in Japan, either, especially since a demon named Eight Feet Tall uses a masculine voice to call out “Po . . . Po . . . Po” in an attempt to lure kids between the ages of 9 and 11. Eight Feet Tall (aka Hachishakusama) often takes the form of a 244-centimeter-tall (8’0”) woman with long black hair. She wears all white and no shoes.Much like Slender Man, she stalks children for several days or even months. When she spots a gap, she grabs the child to torture and kill him. Sometimes, Eight Feet Tall takes the form of a trusted family member to lure a child away faster.
58. Seven Sisters Road
In the early 1900s, a young man became enraged during a massive argument with his parents inside the house he shared with them and seven sisters. He stormed out without resolving the issue and paced the woods close to home.A plan formed in his mind, and he waited until his parents left the house. He went back inside and led his sisters out one at a time, hanging each one by the neck from separate trees that stood in a perfect row.Many years later, the seven trees had to be cut down to make way for a road just a few miles south of Nebraska City. This road became known as the Seven Sisters Road after reports emerged of screams echoing through the night and car headlights dimming on their own as motorists traveled along.Some drivers claim to have heard bells ringing in the darkness. Others say they have seen red eyes staring at them from the shadows. Another version of the legend says that the father is the one who hanged his seven daughters from the trees to get back at his wife for allegedly cheating on him.
59. Check Behind You
It seems like something straight out of a horror movie. Apparently, a legend from Sydney tries to teach drivers to check their rearview mirrors to see if any unwanted passengers have slipped into their back seats without the motorists knowing.Along Wakehurst Parkway, which connects Seaforth to Narrabeen, lies Deep Creek Reserve. The reserve is known for unexplained murders and paranormal activity.Several motorists who travel this road have reported their car radios suddenly malfunctioning or car doors locking for no apparent reason. One of the unexplained tales tells the story of Kelly, a girl who was attacked and murdered along Wakehurst Parkway in the 1970s. Kelly appears in the back seat of an unsuspecting driver’s vehicle and runs the car off the road if the driver does not notice her. If he does see her, he should yell “Get out, Kelly” to avoid becoming another road accident statistic.During the filming of the movie The Parkway Hauntings, the cast and crew were left terrified after an encounter with Kelly. A deep glow appeared behind the actor portraying Kelly and remained even after all camera lights were switched off.The actor started feeling extremely cold and said afterward that she felt frozen to the spot. Producer Bianca Biasi found the experience so disturbing that she vowed never to return to Deep Creek Reserve or drive along Wakehurst Parkway again.
60. The Vanishing Hotel Room
In 1889, a mother and daughter were traveling through Europe when the mother suddenly fell ill. After arriving in Paris, the duo booked a room in a luxury hotel and the mother went to bed immediately.Her daughter was concerned and sent for the resident doctor. The physician gave the mother a prescription, and the daughter set off on a frustrating journey. She walked around the city, struggling to find an apothecary or anyone who spoke English as she did not speak French.After finally returning to the hotel with the medicine, the daughter was astonished to find that the hotel room was empty and her mother was gone. What’s more, the room looked completely different.The curtains, carpet, and wallpaper all sported different patterns. The daughter looked around for their luggage to confirm that she was in the right room. But it was nowhere to be found.Finding a cleaning lady outside the room, the daughter asked if the woman had seen her mother. The cleaning lady simply stared at her and then turned around and walked away. Approaching other hotel staff elicited the same response. All the staff as well as the hotel manager denied ever having seen the mother and daughter before.The daughter ran off to the embassy. She hoped that someone would be able to help her, but the officials there decided she was insane and sent her to a mental institution. Being trapped in the asylum with no one who would listen to her story, the daughter went insane for real and died a few years later.
61. The Man Who Flew Away on a Balloon Lawn Chair
The classic trope in cartoons where a man is lifted into the air by balloons tied to a chair does have a real-life story behind it. In San Pedro, California, Larry Walters was the first man to become airborne using nothing but a lawn chair and 45 helium-filled weather balloons. Walters hoped to fly across the mountain range to reach the Mojave Desert.A friend filmed the attempt, which you can watch online. The flight was only semi-successful. Walters managed to reach 16,000 feet and flew for 45 minutes before getting entangled in power lines. Fortunately, Walters managed to climb down to safety unharmed, but law enforcement arrested him immediately for violating U.S Federal Aviation Regulations. He gained worldwide recognition for the outlandish stunt.Since the pioneering flight in 1982, a surprising number of people have attempted to recreate the homemade aircraft. It also inspired the 2003 film Danny Deckchair and the extreme sport of cluster ballooning.
62. Rat Kings
A very weird myth indeed. People have been reporting rat kings since the mid-16th century, and we’re not talking about crowned rodents. The name rat king refers to the supposed phenomenon where rats’ tails become tangled together. It was believed to be mythical, yet there is evidence of this really happening. The greatest rat king found and preserved in 1828 had as many as 32 rats bound together in this way. We used to think that people only fabricated these kinds of specimens—zoologists were skeptical that it could occur naturally. As recently as 2005, An Estonian farmer discovered a rat king consisting of 16 rats. The tails were tangled together by frozen sand, with nine of the rats still alive. It is preserved at the Natural History Museum at the University of Tartu.It seems nature can be this creepy—the phenomenon was deemed possible but rare.
63. A Dress to Die For
Folklore worldwide recounts the tale of the poisoned dress. In the ancient Greek story of Medea, Medea enacts revenge on her ex-lover’s new younger wife with death-by-dress. Medea removes the dress from a corpse and sends it to Glauce, who wears it to a ball (other times, it’s her own wedding). She succumbs to the embalming fluid that has seeped into the garment. The myth of the embalming fluid, or formaldehyde, being a cause of death has persisted, although it’s been disproven. It turns out formaldehyde smells so bad that it would be impossible not to notice it.There is an unfortunate period in history, though, where manufacturers used arsenic-laced dyes in many clothing items during the 19th century. The exuberantly green dresses that were all the rage in high society ended up causing all those who came in contact with the fabric to endure painful blisters and, worse still, horribly painful deaths.
64. Alligators in the Sewers of New York
The urban legend of giant, often albino, alligators living in the sewer system of New York has been passed down the generations, permeated pop culture, and is even commemorated with an unofficial holiday (February 9th is Alligators in the Sewers Day).Legend has it that rich families in the 1930s began keeping alligators as pets, but once they grew bored of them or found the grown gators too difficult to manage, they flushed them down the toilet. It’s believed that a large colony of sewer alligators has been terrorizing the sewers ever since.The truth is alligators were once sold as pets and have been found in storm drains and surrounding rivers. The multiple tales of sightings and captures have been fanning the flame of this legend over the years. As for the reptiles living and thriving in the sewers? It turns out it’s not possible. The environment is too cold and toxic for alligators to survive very long.
65. Cropsey Killer
Cropsey is a boogeyman legend that circulated Staten Island towards the end of the 20th century. The story goes that an escaped mental patient living in the abandoned Willowbrook Mental Institution’s old tunnels kidnapped and murdered children. The legendary figure would sometimes have a hook for a hand, other times a butcher’s knife, but the story of a murderous maniac struck fear in the kids who grew up there. The true story is just as haunting.After a spate of child disappearances, Andre Rand, who had previously worked at the Willowbrook Institution and was then living on the abandoned grounds, was arrested and charged with Holly Ann Hughes’s kidnapping. This led many Staten Island residents to believe that Rand was the crazed killer responsible for several other disappeared children. Although there has been no physical evidence linking Rand to the crimes, newspapers and Staten Islanders drew parallels between Rand and Cropsey. A documentary called Cropsey investigates the myth and the man supposed to be the real-life Cropsey. One thing’s for sure—it’s difficult to tell the difference between the facts and the folklore.
66. A Giant Sea Creature That Terrorizes Sailors
Norse sailors would often recount tales of a giant tentacled creature that rose from the depths of the ocean and attacked their ships. The reports stated that this ferocious sea monster would rock the ship and even knock men overboard with a tentacle. They believed the creature was hunting them and feasting on their crew one by one. The Kraken myth has been an old seafaring legend for centuries, but is there any truth to this myth? Well, yes. These harrowing ordeals’ culprit is the colossal squid, the largest of the squid species (even bigger than the giant squid). Sure the sailors’ stories were exaggerations, but who doesn’t exaggerate adventures at sea. In 2003, researchers discovered a complete specimen in Antarctic waters. These rare deep ocean lurkers grow up to 14 meters long and weigh at least 500kg. They also have rotating hooks on the tentacles’ club-shaped ends, which make them even more terrifying.
67. Real-Life Beauty and the Beast
Many tales describe mythical hybrids from centaurs to mermaids. But less glamorous are the stories about beasts that resemble a human man in some ways, like the beast from Beauty and the Beast. There are many more accounts of a wild ape-like man from bigfoot to werewolves.In the 1500s, a man named Petrus Gonsalves, a native of the Canary Islands, was born with a rare condition that we now know as hypertrichosis (or werewolf syndrome). The condition produces excessive hair growth all over the body, including the face. Hair completely covered Petrus and people treated him like an animal. They even kept him in a cage and fed him raw meat.At ten years old, he was presented as a gift to the new King of France, Henri II. The King wanted to tame the ‘savage’ and decided to give the boy a proper education. Seeing that Petrus was intelligent, he became very fond of the boy and stopped treating him like an animal, making him a noble.Petrus married a beautiful woman at the court, and they had children together, some of whom shared the genetic condition. Could this remarkable tale be the real-life inspiration for beauty and the beast?
68. Premature Burial
You may have heard of a few cases where people, being mistaken for dead, were accidentally buried alive. Stories of supposed corpses heard screaming from underground and excavations that revealed scratch marks on the inside of coffins had haunted us for centuries. The terror of being buried alive was so strong in Victorian times that bells were set up and attached to dead bodies in case they ever awoke.Some historians even believe the phrase ‘saved by the bell’ comes from this practice. Yet, despite the popularity of these ‘safety coffins,’ there are no records of anyone actually being saved this way.This doesn’t mean the myth of being buried alive is untrue, but it’s definitely not as common as we once believed. Even scarier is that people have reported similar instances in modern times. The most recent case of a mistaken death happened in 2020.Peter Kigen, a 32-year-old Kenyan man who was declared dead, woke up in a morgue to staff preparing to embalm and drain the blood from his body. Kigen regained consciousness and began screaming after someone had sliced his leg open. Hospital negligence is assumed to be responsible for this shocking incident.
69. A Real Corpse as a Halloween Decoration
A very dark urban legend, used repeatedly as the plot for murder mysteries in film and television, is the dead body in a Halloween display that ends up being a genuine corpse. People walk by commenting on how realistic it looks, and nobody knows something horrendous has occurred.This one may be hard to believe. After all, no amount of makeup and special effects could convince that many people a decomposing body is fake, right?Unfortunately, this isn’t just a dramatic scene played out in Hollywood. It really did happen. In 2015, a woman in Ohio was left for dead on a fence by a roadside after being attacked. She was initially mistaken for a Halloween decoration by several people who noticed the woman’s body hanging off the chain-link fence. No one thought to report it since they believed it to be a prank. Only when a construction worker, who also thought it was a decoration, went to remove it realized it was a real body.
70. A Haunted Doll
If you watch enough horror movies, you would have come across a couple of spooky dolls like Chucky or Annabelle. The creepy legend of a beloved toy becoming possessed is enough to give you nightmares. This next story is definitely too weird to be true, and yet here it is. In 1918, in Hokkaido, Japan, a young boy bought a doll for his little sister, Okiku. Both the doll and the Okiku looked similar, having an okappa haircut, a bowl cut with straight hair down to the chin. The doll went everywhere, the little girl went, and so, when Okiku tragically died a couple of months later, her family kept the doll as a shrine. They named the doll after her and prayed to it every day.Then something bizarre happened. The family noticed that the doll’s hair was getting longer. It was growing just as an ordinary person’s hair might grow. Knowing something was very wrong, they gave the doll to Mannen-Ji Temple in Iwamizawa City. Scientists have analyzed the doll’s hair and concluded that it is, in fact, real human hair, human hair belonging to a child. You can still visit this freaky paranormal phenomenon as the doll is on display in the same temple.
71. Governor Van Noodt And The Lady In Grey
Spooky castles aren’t only found in Europe. In Cape Town, South Africa, stands the infamous Castle of Good Hope, the oldest existing colonial building in the country. The castle has a dark history of slavery and torture, making it the inevitable setting for urban legends of all kinds. One of these tales includes the fate of Governor Pieter Gysbert van Noodt. The governor was a cruel man, and among other atrocities, he decided to sentence a group of soldiers to death by hanging in the 1720s. Van Noodt didn’t deem it necessary to show his face at the execution of these soldiers, and during his absence, he was cursed by the last soldier just before the man died. When the governor’s officers went to inform him that the soldiers had been hanged, they found van Noodt dead in his chair. There was a look of horror on his face. The story goes further to say that the governor roams the corridors of the castle to this day, unable to shake the curse.Furthermore, there was also a crying female ghost, dubbed the Lady in Grey, that haunted the castle. However, since the skeleton of a female was discovered during excavation, sightings of the Lady have dramatically decreased.
72. Stick Indians
Native Americans have a slew of creepy legends. One of the more disturbing ones is the story of the Tsiatko, more commonly known as the Stick Indians. These creatures are said to be tall and slim and have the ability to run very fast. They also have ventriloquist abilities to the extent where they whistle to communicate, striking fear into the hearts of humans who hear the sound. Some believe they are a sort of “Bigfoot” creature. Stick Indians wander through the woods at night, seeking out victims to throw their special powder at. This powder is made from the remains of the dead and is said to cause people to go into a deep sleep. While they sleep, the Stick Indians play pranks and even steal children and teenagers from villages to force them to become slaves. Brave men who think they can defeat the Tsiatko should rather stay away, as these creatures will start hating them and hunt them down with a bow and arrow.
73. La Mala Hora
La Mala Hora is an evil spirit that wanders along quiet roads waiting to pounce on unsuspecting travelers. La Mala Hora takes pleasure in driving humans insane. As if that wasn’t enough, this dark spirit also hypnotizes and paralyzes people and then attacks them while they are in that weakened state. After suffocating them, La Mala Hora leaves them next to the road. Citizens of New Mexico refuse to talk about it, simply referring to it as an evil thing. They believe that if you encounter the spirit in female human form, it is an omen of death. If you happen to see her at a crossroads, it is very likely that you or someone close to you will be dead soon.In an apparent run-in with La Mala Hora, a woman was driving down a deserted highway just after midnight when a black shadow appeared at the crossroads ahead. When she hit the brakes, the shadow disappeared, and in its place was an old lady with red eyes and sharp teeth. The old lady proceeded to try and claw her way into the car. The woman sped off down the highway, only to find the freaky old lady was keeping up with her, running next to the car. She eventually outran the specter and saw in the rearview mirror that the evil old lady had grown to the size of a large tree. The woman returned to her house the next morning and found police officers waiting for her. Turns out her husband had been murdered just after midnight the night before.
74. Dead Body Train
A London urban legend has it that a train full of dead bodies once made the journey through a tunnel between Whitechapel Tube station and the Royal London Hospital. The train was appropriately dubbed the Dead Body Train. It is believed that the train operated in the beginning of the 1900s during a time of extreme poverty and disease in London, which almost makes the idea of a Dead Body Train something that could really have existed. Whitechapel is well-known because of Jack the Ripper, and rumors that temporary morgues were set up under the ticket hall there aren’t helping the historic reputation of the place much. There have also been reports of a now-closed tunnel, which some believe may once have led to the Royal London Hospital. These reports have ensured that many people are convinced that the Dead Body Train was a lot more than just an unnerving urban legend.
75. Red Ghost
The legend of Red Ghost dates back to the late 1800s. In 1883, during the dying moments of the Apache wars, two men left their wives at their Arizona ranch to go and make sure their farm animals were safe. As the day drew near the midway mark, one of the women walked down to a spring to collect water. The remaining woman stayed behind with the children. Suddenly, a high-pitched scream rang through the air. Looking outside through the window, the woman in the house saw what looked like a massive beast with red fur sporting a demonic-looking figure on its back. Terrified, the woman locked herself and the children inside the house and waited for the two men to return. The woman who went to collect water didn’t come back. When the men eventually came home, they investigated the woman’s claims, and shortly afterward, they found the other woman’s trampled body close to the spring. They also found large cloven hoofprints and strands of red hair or fur. So the legend of Red Ghost was born.More sightings were reported, one of them by rancher Cyrus Hamblin, who said the beast was in fact a camel with a skeleton tied to its back. Weeks after Hamblin’s report, some prospecters at the Verde River also saw the camel and started shooting at it. They missed, but as they watched it bolt away, something dropped from its back. Walking over to the object, the men were horrified to find that it was a skull with hair still attached to it. Nine years later, another rancher apparently shot the camel dead after finding it in his garden. Examining the remains of the animal, the rancher found evidence that a person was once strapped to its back.
What is known in most countries as a meteor is described in Northern Australia as the eye of an evil spirit. Aboriginal residents here believe that this evil spirit, known as Papinjuwari, Thuwathu, or Namorrodor, reaches out with long claws as it makes its way across the dark sky, looking for souls and preying on those who are near death. Namorrodor is also referred to as a flying serpent, and the legend of it has been passed down through the years. It is said that this evil being can also take on the form of a kangaroo or even a horse and makes sounds resembling wind. In order to avoid a run-in with Namorrodor, meat should never be cooked outside at night because the smell will lead it to attack from the bushes. When it does attack, its favorite prey is unprotected babies. It rips out their hearts and then flies away with their bodies. It is therefore imperative that if babies are included in a camping group or have to sleep outside near bushes for whatever reason, they must be turned on their stomachs or on their sides so that Namorrodor cannot reach their hearts.In order to permanently get rid of Namorrodor, the services of a witch doctor must be called upon. The witch doctor will then kill the evil spirit with a special spear.
77. Janet’s Ghost
During the late 1960s, a young woman named Janet went missing from Kuching, Malaysia. She was a nurse at the time, and her disappearance, along with many others, was thought to have something to do with the construction of the Satok Bridge. The general belief was that if construction on the bridge was halted for any reason, it would anger territorial spirits. Therefore, virgin girls had to be sacrificed by means of decapitation. Their heads would then be immersed into the pillars of the bridge. Since Janet’s remains were eventually found sans her head, the consensus was that she, too, had become a virgin sacrifice. Her parents dressed her in red and had her buried.However, Janet came back for vengeance. Wearing her red burial outfit and shoes, she started appearing to unsuspecting bikers on the outer parts of Kuching. She would hitchhike until one of them offered her a lift, only to disappear at the end of the journey, leaving behind a stinking, rotten stain on the seat. Sightings of Janet were also reported from a ferry traveling across the Sarawak River. As soon as the ferry reached its destination, the red-clad figure disappeared from it, and any money on the ferry turned to leaves.The ghost of Janet strikes terror into the hearts of Kuching residents to this day, with ferry operators refusing to work after 10:00 PM and people refusing to call her by her name. The Satok Bridge collapsed in 2004.
78. Abandoned Annie
The area known as the Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh was devastated by the plague. Rumors abounded that those struck by the disease were left to die in the streets. In the 18th century, the area became a ghost town, its buildings and homes abandoned and closed off. The Real Mary King’s Close inevitably became the focus of ghost hunters and psychics over the years, all of whom have tried to draw out the ghosts of horrors past. In 1992, psychic Aiko Gibo visited the Close to film a documentary on supernatural incidents. Having found nothing spooky enough for her liking, Gibo was about to leave when she came to a halt at a specific room. She initially refused to set foot in it, as she felt a heavy sense of dread, but she eventually went in. Afterward, she said the only reason she did so is because the specter of a little girl asked her to enter. The girl told her her name was Annie and that she died long ago of the plague. Annie was sad because when she was alive, her family abandoned her, and she lost her doll. The little girl also tugged on Gibo’s hand.Gibo then went to buy a Barbie doll for Annie and left it in the middle of the room. Ever since, the single Barbie has grown into a pile of toys and even money left by tourists. A guide at the Close has recounted his own experiences with Annie, claiming she once threw a coin across the room as he was leaving with a group of tourists. He also stated that several people have felt an unseen little hand touching theirs. Some of them became physically ill afterward.
79. The Elevator Killer
Korea is well-known for its treasure trove of creepy urban legends, some of which have been made into horror movies. One of these recounts the tale of a Korean teenager named Haruko who got home late one evening after doing homework at a library. Arriving at the building where she lived, she pressed the elevator button for the 14th floor, eager to get inside her apartment. Just as she got into the elevator and the doors started closing, a man ran up and stopped the doors so that he could get in beside her. He pressed the button for the 13th floor.Haruko couldn’t help staring at the very handsome stranger. When he got out on the 13th floor, he said, “See you,” to which she replied, “Yes, see you.” Just before the doors closed completely, an astonished Haruko saw the man pull a knife from his jacket and heard him yell, “Upstairs!” Then he ran toward the staircase opposite the elevator.Panicking, Haruko tried to stop the elevator from reaching her floor by pounding on the buttons. Unfortunately, she got there in no time, and the doors opened to reveal the grinning maniac standing right in front of her. Haruko’s body was later discovered in the elevator. She had been stabbed to death.
80. Single Braid
During Ghost Month in China, lots of ghost stories and urban legends are shared between residents as per tradition. One of the creepiest ones involves a girl referred to as Single Braid. The story goes that Single Braid, called so because of her long, braided hair, tried to sneak into Hong Kong with her boyfriend. They got on a train to the city, but the girl freaked out when police officers boarded the train and randomly started checking for ID documents. Being an illegal immigrant, she decided to jump from the train while it was still in motion. Her braid got stuck in the window frame as she jumped through the window. This caused her hair to be ripped clean off her scalp, along with the skin on her face. She managed to get as far as a road (now called Single Braid Road) before she gave up and died. The next day, she was discovered lying in a pool of congealed blood. Her boyfriend never returned to find out her fate and simply continued his life as if she never existed.Sightings of a ghost girl started cropping up in the area. One male student had a particularly horrifying experience. Walking down Single Braid Road, he noticed a girl just standing there with her back to him. He noticed that her hair was done in a long braid down her back. He called out to her to find out if everything was all right, but she didn’t respond. Reaching her, he touched her shoulder to get her attention. When she turned around, the young man was shocked to find that she had no face. Then she vanished right in front of his eyes.
81. Woodstock Vampires
On October 9, 1890, The Vermont Standard ran a sensational headline: “Vampirism in Woodstock.” The article detailed an event that had transpired some 60 years earlier in 1830. That year, a local man named Corwin died of consumption (tuberculosis). He was buried in Woodstock’s Cushing Cemetery—a common resting place for the departed residents of this sleepy Vermont village.Six months after the burial, Corwin’s brother also became ill with tuberculosis. After failing to find either a cause or a cure, many prominent men in the village, including Dr. Joseph Gallup and Dr. John Powers from the Vermont Medical College, began blaming vampirism. As a result, the body of the deceased Corwin was exhumed for an autopsy.This postmortem analysis supposedly revealed that Corwin’s heart had not decayed but instead was full of blood. Following the New England custom, Corwin’s heart was removed and publicly burned on the town green.Amazingly, this was not the first time that a vampire panic had touched Woodstock. In 1817, a Dartmouth student named Daniel Ransom became sick with tuberculosis. Shortly after Ransom died on February 14, his father grew concerned that his son had become a vampire. So the father had his son’s body exhumed and the heart removed and burned to protect the health of the remaining members of the Ransom family.During the 19th century, this practice was repeated throughout New England. The most famous case occurred in Exeter, Rhode Island, in 1892 with the death of a young girl named Mercy Brown. Other instances forced artists such as Henry David Thoreau to comment on the strange superstition.
82. Wood Devils
Coos County—the largest, northernmost county in New Hampshire—is predominately rural, frequently cold, and almost entirely remote. It’s the perfect place for a Sasquatch to roam. Known as “wood devils,” these tall, skinny, gray-haired animals have reportedly been sighted throughout the county.While Bigfoot sightings in New Hampshire are not confined to Coos County alone, the fast-moving wood devils have been seen since at least the 19th century. Preferring the deeply wooded areas along the borders with Canada and Vermont, a majority of wood devil sightings occurred in the 1970s when hikers, town residents, and amateur explorers believed they saw Bigfoot-like footprints and the creatures themselves.The Appalachian Trail cuts through the White Mountains of Coos County, giving the region the culture and spirit of Appalachia. While some have linked wood devils with other creatures from Appalachian folklore, New Hampshire isn’t the hotbed of Bigfoot activity that the Pacific Northwest and upstate New York are. Still, the wood devil myth remains an intriguing addition to the overall lore.
83. The Witches Of Bristol
Long after the Salem witchcraft craze, Bristol, Connecticut, experienced witchcraft hysteria between 1800 and 1810. In one instance, a young woman named Merilla Norton claimed that her aunt had “bewitched” her during the night, bridling her like a horse and riding upon her back all the way to Albany, New York. There, Norton was supposedly forced to witness a meeting of witches that involved satanic rites. After making her confession, Norton became the subject of an exorcism.The testimonies of Norton and others helped to inspire a series of witchcraft trials in Bristol, which were some of the last in New England history. Another story from Bristol concerns Elijah Gaylord, who was so terribly harassed by a witch that he was forced to leave the town altogether.Ultimately, Bristol’s witch trials were nowhere near as bloody as previous New England panics, but they helped to form a circular history that begins with 17th-century Connecticut and ends with 19th-century Connecticut.
84. The Ruins Of Hanton City
Although Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US, its bizarre history is large with legends of vampires, ghost ships, and mysterious ocean lights. The weirdest of all may be the ruins of Hanton City, a “lost city” not far from Smithfield.Originally a small farming community, Hanton City was isolated from its neighbors, which left room for all sorts of suggestive rumors. Some said that Hanton City was populated by freed or runaway slaves, while others believed that the village was a sort of leper colony populated by disease-stricken people forced to live deep in the woods.Rumors aside, all that is left of Hanton City is a series of stone foundations, some unattached walls, a burial site, and other collapsed edifices. A set of headstones, all of which bear the last name Smith, can also be found in the ghost town. Sadly, not much else is known about this colonial-era settlement except for a few whispered stories about inexplicable noises and a generally spooky atmosphere.
85. Vermont’s Stone Chambers
Known as the “Green Mountain State,” Vermont could also be called the “Ancient Stone State” because about 200 stone chambers, or “dolmens,” dot the central and southern portions of the state. In the town of Royalton, there are six such structures in a small area. Another major site is located in South Woodstock, where cairns, standing stones, and stone chambers can be found in a naturally made bowl between two ridges.The odd nature of these structures has caused archaeological controversy for decades. Some have claimed that they represent solar calendars used by Native Americans, while a small, vocal minority has proposed that the stone chambers are artifacts from a pre-Columbian, Celtic civilization that existed in ancient New England.The supporters of this latter theory claim that the stones are covered in a form of ogham script, which is an Irish alphabet that was used in the early medieval period. Under this theory, the Celtic inhabitants of Vermont traded with Phoenician sailors who frequently visited the shores of North America.Although it’s doubtful that ancient or medieval Irish settlers built these structures, the stones remain mysterious. According to some sources, carbon dating has shown that the stone structures may be 2,000 years old.
86. Monster Of Pocomoonshine Lake
Despite its funny name, Pocomoonshine Lake is a beautiful lake in the northeastern Maine town of Princeton. A historic vacation destination, Pocomoonshine Lake became notorious in the 1880s when witnesses claimed that a large creature lived in the lake.In 1882, sawmill owner Sewell Quimby claimed to have seen evidence of a snake in the river that was 9–18 meters (30–60 ft) long. While this might have been laughable to some, the idea that a giant snake lived in Pocomoonshine Lake had a connection with Native American folklore.In particular, one story claimed that a fight between an Algonquin shaman and a Micmac chieftain turned into a supernatural battle when the pair transformed into a giant snake and a monstrous serpent, respectively. After the Algonquin shaman won, the Micmac chieftain was killed and tied to a tree near the lake.Today, that monster is affectionately known as “Poco.” Unlike other lake monsters, Poco is not just seen in the water. According to legend, Poco frequently leaves huge snake trails on the land when he journeys into the woods surrounding the lake.
87. New Hampshire’s Devil Monkey
In the tiny town of Danville, New Hampshire, a frightening creature known as the “devil monkey” was known for howling loudly during the night. A large primate with long claws, a reddish-brown coat, and a doglike snout with razor-sharp teeth, the creature occasionally entered the town.In September 2001, Danville’s fire chief claimed that he saw an unknown creature running through Danville’s streets late one night. After this sighting, the devil monkey was seen nine other times over a two-week period, causing a small panic throughout Rockingham County.After search parties failed to locate the beast by late September, eyewitness reports dried up and the devil monkey no longer haunted the residents of Danville. Most believe that a feral but non-demonic monkey was behind the devil monkey hysteria, although more superstitious voices claim that the creature moved to the secluded northern mountains of New Hampshire.
88. The Ghost Of Harry Main
As the story goes, Harry Main came to the Massachusetts seaport town of Ipswich from the Isles of Shoals—a series of islands not far from Portsmouth, New Hampshire—where an unsolved double murder from the 19th century continues to intrigue those interested in the dark underbelly of New England’s history.Before coming to Ipswich in 1671 with his friend Andrew Diamond, Main had been a successful fisherman. When both men moved to Ipswich to continue their fishing activities, Diamond’s career took off. He helped to build several wharfs in the town and co-owned a fleet of merchant ships that actively took part in New England’s profitable trade economy with Great Britain.While Diamond became a wealthy and well-respected man, Main turned to a life of crime. In particular, he worked as a “wrecker” who would steal whatever he could from the many ships that wrecked near Ipswich’s shores.Worse still, Main was a “mooncusser,” a type of pirate who purposely set bonfires on Ipswich’s beaches to steer ships toward dangerous rocks. Like the fictional General Zaroff of The Most Dangerous Game and the founders of Antonio Bay in John Carpenter’s The Fog, Main not only caused shipwrecks, he also killed off the survivors.When Main’s crimes came to light, legends say that he was tied to a stake in a sandbar and forced to perform the Sisyphean task of shoveling sand until his demise. Since then, Main’s ghost has been said to haunt his former residence on Water Street, where a secret treasure protected by magic may contain all the items that he stole from those wrecked ships.
89. Wizard’s Glen
Approximately 6 kilometers (4 mi) from the western Massachusetts town of Pittsfield, Wizard’s Glen is a haunted spot in the Berkshires where Native American shamans reportedly carried out human sacrifices on the “Devil’s Altar.” A rocky hollow that produces natural echoes, Wizard’s Glen is also said to be haunted by the spirit of the daughter of Miahcomo, a once great and powerful chief.Many of the rumors and tall tales surrounding Wizard’s Glen stem from the old Puritan fear of the wilderness and a misunderstanding of Hobomocko, a Native American entity known for making a racket. For Massachusetts’s colonists and settlers, Hobomocko took on the visage of Satan, making Wizard’s Glen an evil place full of black magic and blood rituals.In the most famous story, a hunter named John Chamberlain had to seek refuge in Wizard’s Glen because of a rainstorm. While Chamberlain struggled to sleep during the night, he was suddenly struck with a delirious vision of demons and Native American warlocks gathering in the forest. At some point, the Devil appeared in order to accept the sacrifice of a Native American girl. Using his Bible, Chamberlain scared off the demons and saved the girl’s life. Despite Chamberlain’s heroics, legend claims that the glen is still cursed today.
90. The Jewett City Vampires
Along with Vermont and Rhode Island, 19th-century Connecticut had its fair share of vampires. In the 1840s and 1850s, the Ray Family of Jewett City suffered many tragedies from consumption. The first to die was 24-year-old Lemuel B. Ray, the son of Henry and Lucy Ray, in 1845. Then in 1849, Henry also died of tuberculosis. He was followed to the grave two years later by 26-year-old Elisha.By 1854, the remaining members of the family, including the very sick Henry Nelson, began to suspect that vampires were responsible for the family’s numerous tragedies. On the night of May 8, 1854, the surviving Ray siblings and their mother, Lucy, dug up the bodies of their dead relatives, decapitated some of them, and even burned the internal organs of one corpse. With the burned ashes, the Rays made a liquid concoction that was passed between them as a way to fight the disease.In accordance with New England tradition, Elisha, who had been the last to die, had his heart removed. When the Rays found evidence of fresh blood in Elisha’s heart, they concluded that he was the chief vampire responsible for the disease. They burned his body and his coffin to expel his evil spirit. Like other vampire panics in New England, the case of the Ray family was covered widely by local and some outside media.Interestingly, Jewett City is a borough of Griswold, Connecticut, where a coffin marked “JB-55” was found to contain the exhumed bones of a man who had been a suspected vampire in the 1790s. Like some of the Jewett City corpses, who had their decapitated heads placed at their feet following exhumation, JB-55 had his two femur bones arranged in an “X” pattern beneath his decapitated head five years after his death.Both of these cases display the intricacies of New England vampire folklore as well as the widespread assumption that tuberculosis and other diseases were caused by the unclean spirits of the dead.
91. Rainbow Parties
A rainbow party is a type of sexual party, said to be popular among adolescents, in which girls wearing different shades of lipstick take turns performing oral sex on the males attending the party, leaving an array of colors on their penises which vaguely resembles a rainbow. This urban legend was publicized on several talk shows and publications, leading parents to believe that rainbow parties were not only factual, but also rampant among teenagers. However, apart from questionable testimonials, little evidence exists that rainbow parties are real, and sex researchers, as well adolescent health care professionals, believe the practice to be inexistent and nothing more than the cause of a moral panic.
92. Vodka-Soaked Tampons
The rumor that both women, and men, are inserting vodka-soaked tampons into their vagina and anus respectively, as a new way to get drunk, quickly reached the status of an urban legend through the media coverage that it received, alarming parents about the dangerous practice prevalent among teens. Getting drunk via a vodka-soaked tampon purports several benefits, such as helping fool breathalyzer tests by eliminating alcohol breath, providing a quicker way to get drunk by speeding alcohol into the bloodstream, and preventing vomiting caused by intoxication; all of which seem credible. However, all these claims, except for getting people drunk faster by only a matter of minutes, have been proven to be false, leading to the question of why would anyone want to ingest alcohol in such a manner, and dismissing the story as a false urban legend.
93. Snuff Films
Said to portray the actual death or murder of those being filmed, snuff films continue to cause a tremendous stir by playing to people’s emotions, and by relying on their plausibility. While some people sustain that various snuff films have been distributed commercially, police investigations by various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, have revealed that no snuff films have been produced, and that no market exists for such type of films, undermining the claims that snuff films are made for financial gain. While some deaths and murders have been caught on camera, such as suicides, and executions of death row inmates, none of them have been explicitly recorded for the purpose of entertainment or profit.
94. The Kidney Heist
The story goes that a well organized, well funded, crime ring, with very skilled personnel is drugging travelers and surgically removing one of their kidneys, leaving the victims to wake up submerged to their neck in a bathtub full of ice. This urban legend has been associated with numerous major U.S. cities, from Las Vegas to Houston, from Houston to the City of New Orleans, in which caused quite a commotion on the days prior to Mardi Gras, prompting the New Orleans Police Department to issue an official statement declaring the allegations of kidney theft as “completely without merit and without foundation.” The National Kidney Foundation also took part in the fight to dispel the credibility of the legend, by asking individuals who claim to have been victims of kidney theft to contact them, so far no one has.
A drug made by fermenting raw sewage that causes a euphoric high followed by strong hallucinations, when its gases are inhaled. Jenkem took the world by storm, fooling several news outlets, including the Washington Post, that reported the drug as a new popular form to get high among American teenagers, and appealed to it gross factor by calling it “the human waste drug” and “butthash.” The media frenzy was sparked by an intelligence bulletin published by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, which cited Jenkem as “a popular drug in American schools.” However, the information contained in the bulletin came from a source that later dismissed it as a hoax, and the belief that Jenkem was a new popular drug was based on nothing but gossip.
96. Wal-Mart Gang Initiations
By addressing the issue of gangs, rumors that gang initiates were required to kill children or women at a Wal-Mart, as part of the initiation process, caused widespread panic and flooded police phone lines. The rumors portrayed those most vulnerable, children and women, as being at risk, and spread quickly through text messages and media coverage. Many people avoided shopping at Wal-Mart on the days following the surge of the rumor, failing to notice that it bore some similarities to another false urban legend in which gang initiates would kill unsuspecting drivers that flashed their headlights at them. The Wal-Mart gang initiations were said to take place in stores across the U.S. and even in the province of Alberta, Canada. Police departments in several states were quickly to reassure concerned callers, and issued statements declaring the rumors as “not credible,” “hoaxes,” and as “urban legends.”
97. Pin Prick Attacks
The hypothetical attacks involved injecting blood tainted with AIDS into unsuspecting targets, at movie theaters, raves, and night clubs. The unwary victim would feel a slight prick on their arm, and later discover a note attached to their clothes carrying the message ‘Welcome to the world of AIDS.’ Variations of the urban legend quickly spread through email, and some claimed to be a warning being circulated by the Dallas Police Department, which later declared the attacks as false, and not happening. Although attacks have been carried out by using syringes as weapons, in none of the attacks were the syringes contaminated with HIV or AIDS; except for one isolated event in Australia, in which an inmate at Sydney’s Long Bay Jail managed to jab a guard with a syringe filled with HIV-positive blood and a case in New Zealand in which a man intentionally infected his wife with a syringe of his blood. Prison guard, Gary Pearce, contracted the disease and died, despite the 1 in 200 chance of infection. The motive behind this urban legend was to frighten people and to keep them from visiting leisure establishments, by playing on the public fear of AIDS.
98. Sex Bracelets
According to the legend, gel bracelets, also known as jelly bracelets, or ‘awareness bracelets,’ are being used by teenagers as a sexual code to indicate their willingness to participate in different acts, which range from hugging and kissing, to oral sex and intercourse. The acts are determined by the bracelet’s color, and if a boy snaps a girl’s bracelet off her wrist, he is awarded a ‘sexual coupon,’ which can be exchanged for the act that corresponds to the color of the bracelet. Several schools banned the bracelets as a response to the rumors of the bracelets’ hidden meaning, which in turn lead news outlets to believe that the rumors were in fact true, citing the banning of the bracelets as proof positive. Alarmed parents expressed shock and disbelief, ignoring the fact that gel bracelets served only as a fashion accessory, and that the urban legend of the bracelets being used as ‘sexual coupons’ was nothing more than wishful thinking on part of the adolescents.
99. Blue Star Tattoos
Playing on parents’ fears, and on society’s instinct to protect those who are most vulnerable, the blue star tattoos legend takes the form of a warning declaring that LSD laced rub-on tattoos are being distributed to children to get them addicted at an early age. The ‘warning’ has been attributed to several health institutions and police departments. Despite the fact that the information contained in the warning regarding the effects of LSD is inaccurate, and that LSD is not an addictive drug, the blue star tattoo legend continues to fool and alarm, parents, journalists, and school administrators. The legend resurfaces from time to time, bringing with it a familiar wave of panic and concern, regardless of the fact that no documented cases of actual LSD distribution to children exist.
100. Poisonous Candy
By far the most popular urban legend on this list, and the most widely believed to be true. Retold each year on the days previous to Halloween, it manages to instill unease, by casting doubt on the integrity of others. Rumors that unscrupulous people are handing out poisoned candy to unsuspicious children on Halloween, have become a staple of urban legend lore, due in part to the horrifying nature of the act, and to the mass media coverage that false claims of poisoned Halloween treats received. No evidence and no documented cases exist, that tampered candy is being randomly and knowingly distributed to children while trick-or-treating with the intent to harm or possibly kill. In one case of premeditated murder, however, a cyanide-laced Pixie Stix was given to a child by his father with the intention of killing him, and collecting the insurance money. Attempts at debunking this urban legend haven’t been able to put it to a rest, and as with all other urban legends on this list, it continues to be passed off as true, causing a moral panic despite its obvious falsity and blatant sensationalism.