Top 20 Urban Legends

Suggested by SMS

Everybody likes a good urban legend. They are stories you used to scary friends with while you’re standing around a camp fire, and ones you relive by watching your children as they hear them for the first time. Some are meant as warnings and others are meant to have some greater meaning, but they are all supposed to make you feel just a little uneasy when you turn out the lights before you get in bed. These are the horror stories that are meant to have happened, and freak you out just enough that you start to believe they might just be. They do this by playing on the things that you fear, things that go bump in the night and the slight gaps in life that a monster might just slip between. Some of these legends have become so popular they have been made into movies, and others you may never have heard before. But in either case I hope they hold that element of uncertainty that helps us all remember what it’s like to be a kid, and why you still check the closet before you go to bed. Here is a list of the Top 20 Urban Legends.

20. Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights


In this popular college-related urban legend, two roommates disagree on the amount of sexual activity that goes on in the shared room. One roommate seems to have a different man over every night and each night the other roommate comes home, flips on the light, and catches them in action. Then, one night, the roommate comes home and enters the room, only to hear the same shrieking, panting, and moaning sound that usually come from the other bed. Instead of turning on the light and catching her roommate in action, she puts on her headset and cranks up her music in an attempt to drown out the sounds. The next morning, the police awaken her. When she looks over at her roommate’s bed, it is covered in blood and entrails. Across the wall are the words, written in the roommate’s blood of course, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights?”

19. The missing child


The child-missing-from-an-amusement-park urban legend has been around so many times that many people actually believed it was true. It’s difficult to tell where it originated from, but in doing research; most major theme parks seem to have the same story. Although the details vary, the story is the same. A child is at an amusement park with their parents. The child is abducted, sometimes taken right off a ride, and sometimes when the parent isn’t looking. The frantic parents then alert security and the exits are closed. Each person is closely scrutinized as they leave the park. The stolen child is found when the kidnappers try to escape with the child. The catch is that the kidnappers tried to change the child’s appearance, but failed to remember one tiny detail. Sometimes, that detail is the child’s glow in the dark shoelaces. Sometimes it’s the little girl’s earrings. Every story has its own variation. Still, in most of the stories, the kidnappers did manage to whisk the child off to the restroom where they managed to drug the child, change their clothing, and cut and dye their hair.

18. Three Men and a…Ghost


The popular movie “Three Men and Baby” did well at the box office when it was released. It made even more money later when the rumor began circulating that in one scene in particular the image of a ghost-boy could be seen hanging out in one of the windows. Actually, there is some truth to this rumor. The popular theory is that a young boy who died naturally, hung himself, or was killed haunted the set and it is his ghost that is seen in the scene. The explanation put out by the studio is that it is a cardboard cutout of one of the actors in the movie, who actually plays an actor in the movie. Regardless, if you know where to look, viewers can really see the item in question. As to what it is, that is up for debate. It was determined, however, that the film was filmed on a soundstage and not in a house.

17. A ghostly date


This urban legend has been popularized in many television shows and movies, including the Halloween Special of “Growing Pains.” In this popular story, a man is driving home late one evening when he sees a young woman walking alongside the road. It’s raining and she is alone so he stops and asks her if she needs any help. She tells him that her car broke down and that she lives a few miles up the road and asks if he can give her a ride. He says yes and lets her in the backseat. After driving for a few minutes, he turns around to talk to her, only to find that she is missing. He goes on to the address that she has given him, only to be met by the girl’s father who tells the man that his daughter died years ago in a car accident. In other variations, he lends the girl his coat and after talking to the father he goes to her gravesite, where he finds his coat draped over her tombstone.

16. Suicide for them equals a good grade for you


This one has been circulating colleges for a while and might have some truth to it. The idea is that if a college student’s roommate dies from a suicide, long drawn out death (such as cancer), or is murdered the surviving roommate gets a 4.0. In some versions, it’s a 3.0. Being murdered by the surviving roommate makes the rule null and void. Although most college will offer some type of bereavement inclusion for the surviving roommate, there has yet to be a college that offers good grades as an incentive.

15. No such thing as a perfect grade at Harvard anymore


According to Harvard lore, Henry Kissinger is the only person to have ever graduated from Harvard with a perfect grade point average. Although it sounds plausible, since Harvard is known to be a difficult education entity and one assumes the classes are challenging, in 2001 Kevin Scwartz graduated with a perfect score and later his sister did as well. However, according to Harvard records, only 4 people have ever done this, so Henry Kissinger might have been the first person, if not the only person.

14. Halloween Overdose


This urban legend might have started with the James Bond Film goldfinger where a women dies because she is covered from head to toe in gold paint. Other rumors about covering your body in paint include the man who went to a fancy dress party dressed like the incredible hulk, but forgot to leave a patch of his skin uncovered, (normally at the base of the spin), and suffocated in the middle of the party. Sometimes the guy falls into the punch bowl for effect. The fact is you can’t die of asphyxiation from being covered in paint, you might overheat, but it’s unlikely. What about the character in Goldfinger? Well maybe they painted her in toxic paint, who knows? But she didn’t suffocate.

13. The Blair Witch Hunt


One urban legend say that the film The Blair Witch Hunt was actually base don the story of three student film makers who disappeared while trying to film a documentary about the Blair witch. No matter what your feelings might be after having to sit through film, the fact is the movie was entirely fictional. In fact the film was a giant of advertising, and even the reported ‘facts’ behind the myth of the Blair Witch are false itself and the advert for the film itself, speaking as if it was the real live footage of an actual incident, was no more than clever advertising to promote the film. That’s right, no witch, no mythical cult, and no actual footage of people having runny noises and getting lost in the woods.

12. Good Samaritan Turns Nasty


A woman, it’s usual a woman, breaks down just after leavening a hotel, motel, or shopping mall with a flat tire. She’s upset and curse then set’s to work with the jack and business of changing the annoying thing. A well-dressed man, someone you think respectable enough anyway, comes along and asks if she needs help. She agrees, thank full someone is willing to take the load of her shoulders, and he changes the tire for her. But when he is finished he asks for a ride, perhaps to his home, his car on the other side of the street, whichever, perhaps even back to where they have come from. But the woman is weary of him by now and refuses. The man gets aggressive or just plain weird. It normally ends with her leaving him beside the road, or even fleeing back to where she came from. Either way when the police get involved they find her tire has been purposefully slashed and sometimes the man leaves his briefcase by the car. They find a rope, knife, and ducked tape inside and the women is left to wonder, ‘what did he have in store for me.’

11. Creepy Gas Station Guy


While driving home on a rainy night, stormy if you like it better that way, a woman or coupled find they don’t’ have enough gas to get home. They talk about it, neither of them wanting to pull over in such loosely weather, they haven’t been to this part of the county before and they are starting to feel a little scared by the unfamiliar surroundings and the strange shadows cast by the storm. But the gas tank has other plans and soon the warning light blinks on, forcing the couple to stop. As the guy fills up the car the woman sits uncomfortably in the passenger seat unsure of why she is so nervous. Eventually she unlocks the doors and gets out of the car to join the man, for company. She asks him if he wants anything and goes inside the store for drinks. The gas station attendant is a creepy looking guy, and the woman tries to stay away form him. He tries to hit on her, or at least that’s what it feels like to the woman, and eventually follows her out to her car, using the excuse of carrying the bags. He still follows them to the car and lean over the passenger door to ogle the woman as she pulls the door shut you of his hand. But when the boyfriend turns the engine over the Gas station clerk starts going crazy and shouting at them through the window. They speed out of the gas station nearly taking the clerk with them on the bonnet of the car. When they get home, still a little shaken up, the boyfriend turns to the woman and tries to comfort her, but before he can say anything a hand reaches out of the back seat and grabs hold of his head. The gas station clerk had been trying to warn them all along!

10. House so Haunted, no one has ever Been all the Way Through it


One of the best haunted house urban legends is of the house that is supposedly so scary and so haunted that nobody has ever actually made it all the way through. Although the house is said to exist in many locations (Michigan, Ohio, California, etc.) the stories about it are all the same: you pay a certain amount of money to enter and get it back in increments as you finish each floor. Of course, no one has ever finished all of the floors. Alas, although many haunted houses from famous stories and urban legend’s can be found all over the country around Halloween there is yet to be a house that refunds money for being too haunted.

9. Pop Rocks and Coke


Pop rocks, the candy that “fizzles and pops” in your mouth when you eat it. A seemingly harmless type of candy until, the story goes, you mix it with coca cola. Little Mikey, best known from the Life cereal commercials (“Mikey will eat it!”) allegedly died from this combination. The popular story was that Mike drink a liter of coca cola after eating the combustive candy and the combination made his stomach explode. Pop rocks were eventually taken off the market, giving credence to the rumors that they were dangerous. However, they were actually bought by another company and just re-named and are still available for purchase. And Little Mikey? He is still alive and kicking and goes by his real name, John Gilchrist.

8. Acid-laced Tattoos for Children


In this legend, rub-on tattoos are given to children that are laced with LSD and soak into the skin when applied. The tattoos can have Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson, or a multitude of other cartoon characters embossed on them. The idea is drug dealers want to get the kids hooked on LSD so that they would the want and need to buy more. Ironically school-aged children generally do not have the amount of cash that is necessary to purchase drugs and whether they suffer the agony of detox or not they would be well into sobriety before they ever could afford to buy them.

7. Alligators in New York City


This rumor has been circulating for so long about alligators surviving in the depths of the New York sewer system that many people actually believe that it is true. Supposedly, tourists who went to Florida and other alligator-populated states brought back baby alligators to keep as pets. When they got older, and a lot more dangerous, the people didn’t know what to do with them, and so they ended up simply dumping them in the sewers, or flushing them down the toilet if you prefer. The truth is, alligators are used to warm climates and even a large colony of mutant alligators, as they have become over the years, probably couldn’t stand the New York City winters. Still, makes you think twice about sitting down on the toilet before you look doesn’t it?

6. Tanning to Death


Beauty is pain, or so the saying goes. But in this urban legend, one woman’s quest for the perfect tan proved to be fatal. Supposedly a woman is getting married, going to the prom, or attending some other important event, and wants to look her best. She goes to many tanning salons and orange looking sales woman tells her the same thing – you can only tan for 30 minutes. To beat the system, she goes to many salons that day, attending each one for 30 minutes at a time. She eventually achieves the perfect tan and goes on to attend her event. However, over the course of the evening a smell begins to radiate from her skin. As the evening wears on, the smell becomes more and more profound. Finally, at the end of the night, she keels over, dead. When the autopsy comes it is discovered that she “cooked” her internal organs by her excessive tanning.

5. Baby Spiders Everywhere


In this graphic urban legend, a woman goes on vacation to a tropical destination. Sometimes it’s Guatemala, sometimes Costa Rica, but it’s always tropical. She spends a delightful holiday whiling away the time in the baking sun and enjoying funny little drinks with umbrellas in them. She starts getting to know the locals and exploring the jungle and ends up coming in contact with many rare insects. Something bites her, but it doesn’t concern her until she returns home and finds that the place on her cheek has become swollen. Over the next week, the swelling gets bigger and bigger until suddenly it bursts and hundreds of baby spiders jump out and across her face. This Urban Legend takes us back to the time when all a writer had to do was use a foreign name and a few extra vowels to produce a murder weapon. But it also feats on our fear of the unknown and, as explorers, what things we might bring back accidentally. As the exploration of the sea’s and pace continue to grow this legend might just be the backbone of a lot of literature to come in the future.

4. Clown Statue Turns out to be Real


Like a lot if urban legends no one knows how this one began or what it was based on, but even if you’re not particularly afraid of the funny haired actors then you can at least appreciate how coming across and armed clown in a dark alley might be worrying. In fact there is actual a specific phobia of clowns that might hold the answer since it seems to be a hidden and innate fear for a lot of people. If not then simply blame it on the films ‘It’, ‘Poltergeist’, ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’, or even a spooky trip to the circus as a kid, but clown’s do seem to have been playing with our scary circuits for a long time. In this urban legend, a babysitter is again watching the children, but this time she calls the parents and asks them if it’s okay to watch television in their bedroom after the kids have gone to sleep. (It is apparently the only room in the house with cable.) They say yes, of course, and she then asks if it’s okay to throw a sheet over the scary looking clown statue while she’s in there. In dismay, the parents immediately call the police because, of course, there is no clown statue in their bedroom. As the police arrive, they catch the man dressed as a clown running out of the house. The difference between this legend and the other ‘babysitter in the house’ legend is that in this one, the maniacal clown is actually caught.

3. Bloody Mary

Chanting “Bloody Mary” three times in front of a mirror in a darkened room is either suppose to bring about a female vengeful spirit, or is just a fun way to scare your friends at a slumber party. Either way, it’s certainly one of the most well-known urban legends. There has been a great deal of speculation about the identity of Bloody Mary. Some think that she was Mary I of England who is sometimes referred to by historians as Bloody Mary. Some people think that she is the embodiment of a witch, or the ghost of a murdered girl. Some believe that she was Mary, Queen of Scots. She is more often than not been summoned in bathrooms mirror although any dark room with a mirror seem to do the trick, and she has done a variety of things to people when she arrives from scratching eyes out to driving them insane, and pulling them into the mirror itself never to be heard from again. In any case she is not someone you want to turn up at your party, not even if she dose share her name with a drink. The general impression is that this broad will kill, cut and disembowel anyone who happens to say her name, or happens to be in the near vicinity when it happens.

2. Babysitter Upstairs


There is a babysitter alone in a large middle class house on a stormy night. This has got to be one of the most popular urban legends of all time. Many people claim to have known someone who knew someone that this story happened to. In this scenario, a young woman is babysitting in a large house. The children are asleep and she is downstairs alone when she begins receiving strange telephone calls. She becomes alarmed when the person on the other end of the line begins telling her that they are coming to get her. In fright, she calls the police. A few minutes later, the police call her back and tell her that a squad car is on the way and that they traced the calls, only to find that they are coming from inside the house. This is one of those stories so popular that it has been made into a movie, in fact several movies. It is based in the fear of surprise but also the natural suspicion of someone, or something, being where you can’t see it. This is why so many horror movies have the camera panning around the victim only to reveal the serial kill has been standing behind them the whole time.

1. Hook on the Car


Many urban legends focus on the perils that can befall unsuspecting teens that are up to no good. The “hook on the car” story is no exception. The story follows a young couple, normally the guy is wearing some sort of sports jacket and the girl is a blonde cheerleader. They are parked on a deserted road,(lookout point perhaps), caught up in their hormones and attraction to one another. Gradually the girl begins to act suspicious, taking occasional hurried glances at the steamy windows. Suddenly, she can hear scraping sounds outside the car. The noises get louder and louder and eventually the girl lays down the law to the guy, no more kissing. The young woman is understandably frightened and asks the man to drive away. The guy pushes the accelerator down and speeds down the road. When they reach the young lady’s house, he goes to her door to let her out, only to find a hook left dangling from her door handle. The entire car is covered in scrapes. Later, the couple learns that a patient escaped from a mental hospital (or in some variations a prison) and the escapee is missing his right hand, with a hook in its place. This story is biased in the fear of realizing what could have happened, or more to the point, what had been happening without anyone knowing it.