Urban Legends

What is an urban legend? Urban legends are incredible stories – sometimes scary, sometimes funny – which have a tantalizing bit of plausibility to them. Urban legends contain many folkloric elements and they spread quickly through a community or society. The tales are usually told dramatically, as if they are true stories that have happened to a real people, although they may in fact be fictional. Local touches are often added to the legend. A storyteller might say: “This really happened last year to my cousin’s friend in Chicago.” Urban legends often carry a warning or have some significance that motivates the community in preserving and propagating it. For example, the Hook Man story (see below) is often used to warn teenagers against parking in the local Lover’s Lane.





Urban Legends



Black Aggie

When Felix Agnus put up the life-sized shrouded bronze statue of a grieving angel, seated on a pedestal, in the Agnus family plot in the Druid Ridge Cemetery, he had no idea what he had started. The statue was a rather eerie figure by day, frozen in a moment of grief and terrible pain. At night, the figure was almost unbelievably creepy; the shroud over its head obscuring the face until you were up close to it. There was a living air about the grieving angel, as if its arms could really reach out and grab you if you weren't careful.

Black Dog of Hanging Hills

He smiled as he sipped at his coffee. It had been an excellent hike. He was glad his friend had recommended coming to the Hanging Hills in Connecticut; not the first place that had come to his mind when considering a vacation. But it was beautiful here. When his friend arrived tomorrow they would tackle some of the more challenging terrain.

Bleeding Sink

I found it extremely annoying that one of the bathrooms on my dorm was permanently closed. Especially since the cause was an urban legend. An urban legend, I tell you!

Bloody Mary

She lived deep in the forest in a tiny cottage and sold herbal remedies for a living. Folks living in the town nearby called her Bloody Mary, and said she was a witch. None dared cross the old crone for fear that their cows would go dry, their food-stores rot away before winter, their children take sick of fever, or any number of terrible things that an angry witch could do to her neighbors.

Burnt Church

She was sophisticated, poised, and cultured. In retrospect, this should have made them suspicious. A teacher like her should be presiding over a girl’s school in London or New York, not seeking a position in a small town in Georgia. But at the time, they were too delighted by her application to ask any questions.

Dancing with the Devil

The girl hurried through her schoolwork as fast as she could. It was the night of the high school dance, along about 70 years ago in the town of Kingsville, Texas. The girl was so excited about the dance. She had bought a brand new, sparkly red dress for the dance. She knew she looked smashing in it. It was going to be the best evening of her life. Then her mother came in the house, looking pale and determined.

Devil on Washington Rock

The dream was so vivid, she didn't realize at first that it was a dream. The party was crowded, the guests cheerful, the food delicious. Then a rumor began to circulate among the guests. The Devil was coming to the party. The Devil was on the way.

Don't Turn on the Light

She commandeered the room in the basement of her dorm as soon as she realized she would have to pull an all-nighter in order to prepare for tomorrow’s final exam. Her roommate, Jenna, liked to get to bed early, so she packed up everything she thought she would need and went downstairs to study . . . and study . . . and study some more.

Express Train to Hell

For days, a ragged old man had hung around the Newark Central Station. The stationmaster kept running him off, but night after night he would return. He kept accosting people, shouting: "It's coming for me! It's coming!"...

Ghost Handprints

My wife Jill and I were driving home from a friend's party late one evening in early May. It was a beautiful night with a full moon. We were laughing and discussing the party when the engine started to cough and the emergency light went on. We had just reached the railroad crossing where Villamain Road becomes Shane Road...

Hatchet Man

There were warnings all over campus about a Hatchet Man who was supposedly abused and killed a woman in Bloomington. All the girls were warned to walk in pairs and to stay in brightly lit areas if they had to go out at night.

La Mala Hora

My friend Isabela called me one evening before dinner. She was sobbing as she told me that she and her husband Enrique were getting divorced. He had moved out of the house earlier that day and Isabela was distraught...

Llorona, Omen of Death

They say that the Llorona was once a poor young girl who loved a rich nobleman, and together they had three children. The girl wished to marry the nobleman, but he refused her. He told her that he might have considered marrying her if she had not born the three out-of-wedlock children, which he considered a disgrace...

Milk Bottles

She was just another poor, bedraggled woman, struggling to feed her family. He saw them all the time, their faces careworn, and blank. The Depression had created hundreds of them. He was one of the lucky ones who still had his grocery and money coming in to feed his family...

Sasquatch

I got up at the crack of dawn and drove to Larry's place to pick him up. We were going hiking along our favorite trail in the back of beyond. It was a sunny day, but not too hot; a perfect day for hiking. Larry and I walked along the rugged path leading into the woods, chatting off and on as the mood struck us...

Screaming Tunnel

There is a tunnel under the old railroad tracks just to the west of the Queen Elizabeth Way in Niagara Falls. It is known locally as the Screaming Tunnel. A path wanders through the tunnel and then up to an empty field on the hill. But the field was not always empty.

The Bloody Mary Ritual

We were having a sleepover at my house that Saturday night. Me and my four best friends; Alex, Bianca, Sabrina, and Lacey. We made cookies and watched movies and did our hair and makeup. By midnight, we’d run out of planned activities. It was time to improvise. “Let’s try that Bloody Mary thing,” Lacey suggested.

The Face

The medical student toppled into love as soon as he set eyes on Sheila, the beautiful new transfer student. She had masses of long black hair and eyelashes so long they got tangled in her curls when she leaned over her desk. The medical student had a withdrawn nature, though not by inclination. He’d learned the hard way that people avoided him when they heard about his insane father; locked away in an asylum.

The Hook

Excerpted from Spooky Campfire Talesretold by S.E. SchlosserThe reports had been on the radio all day, though she hadn't paid much attention to them. Some crazy man had escaped from the state asylum. They were calling him the Hook Man...

The Old Bridge

Old Man McManor was the foulest-tempered fellow you ever did see; but he owned and operated the only sawmill over in Camden, so folks had to deal with him. Whenever anyone didn’t pay on time or crossed him, he’d take out his horsewhip and flail at them until they ran away cussing or broke down crying.

Underground

We timed our visit to Pendleton to coincide with the Roundup, and managed to snag one of the very last hotel rooms in town. My husband was a big rodeo fan and was as excited as a little kid to be attending the famous Pendleton Roundup. I myself was looking forward to the rodeo, and very much enjoyed the Wild West feel of the town, but my biggest wish for this trip was to visit the famous, or should I say infamous, Pendleton Underground.

Where's My Liver

“Go straight to the store and don’t fool around,” his mother said sternly as she handed over the money. “Your father’s boss is coming to dinner tonight and we’re having his favorite meal of liver and onions. It’s important that we make a good impression, so get the best liver they’ve got.”

White Lady

In the early 1800s, the White Lady and her daughter were supposed to have lived on the land where the Durand Eastman Park -- part of Irondequoit and Rochester -- now stands. One day, the daughter disappeared. Convinced that the girl had been raped and murdered by a local farmer, the mother searched the marshy lands day after day, trying to discover where her child's body was buried...

You Can't Get Out

One dark, windy night, the town drunk was meandering his way home after the bar closed. Somehow he got turned around and ended up walking through the churchyard instead of taking the road home...
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