Urban legends are modern folklore. They're meant to scare you, because they just seem so believable. In fact, we've already compiled a list of the tales that turned out to be true. You've probably heard some of these tall tales, they've allegedly happened to a "friend of a friend." Maybe you haven't and you're ready to learn some more.
Here are the scariest urban legends from around the world. Don't read before bed.
1. The Hook
The Legend: A teen boy is driving his date to a dark and deserted lovers' lane to make out, possibly cop a feel, whatever it is that teenagers do in cars on dark and deserted locations. He turned on his radio, sets the mood, and begins kissing his girlfriend. Minutes later, the music stops mid-song. After a moment of silence an voice comes on the radio. He says, in an ominous tone, a convicted killer has escaped an insane asylum, just a half mile from where they're parked. He urges anyone who notices a man wearing a stainless steel hook in place of his hand to report his whereabouts to the police. The girl is afraid and she wants to go home. The boy locks all the doors, and insists they'll be fine. He tries to kiss her again, but she insists they leave. Finally, he tries to start his car, but the battery is dead, they've been kissing so long listening to the radio.
The boy tells his date to stay in the car, lock all the doors, and not to open it for any reason, and not to leave. She agrees and he goes out to find help. After a few minutes, she begins to hear a scratching sound. She looks around and can't see anyone. She wonders if it's her boyfriend playing a mean trick, but she's so freaked out she doesn't want to get out to look. She succumbs to her exhaustion and falls asleep. When she wakes up in the morning, her boyfriend is still not there. She gets out of the car and finds his lifeless body. On her door handle is a bloody hook.
Reality: Why would a killer be given a stainless steel hook in an insane asylum? Who has hooks now, anyway? And even if he did, why would he just leave it on the car door, I bet they're expensive to get custom made. This story was probably crafted to scare teens into not making out. Do lovers' lanes even exist anymore?
2. It's Just The Dog
The Legend: A young woman lives alone, save for her pet dog. She's listening to the news before bed and learns tha there's a dereanged mental patient on the loose, and then on to the weather. To be safe, she double locks her doors and makes sure all her windows are closed. She heads to bed, and her dog follows, taking it's usual spot on the floor by the bed. At 3AM, she jolts awake, and she's sure she can hear a faint dripping sound coming from inside the house. She's too afraid to get out of bed to check, and she dangles her hand off the edge to feel for her dog. She's comforted when she feels the dog's tongue licking her hand. She lies awake, listening to the dripping, every once and a while putting her hand back down to feel the reassuring lick from her dog. She falls back asleep.
The next morning, she goes into the bathroom to find the shower wall covered in blood. Written in blood on the wall is, "HUMANS CAN LICK TOO," next to her skinned dog which hangs limp from the shower head, dripping into the tub.
Reality: My best friend in 5th grade told me this story, and the death of the dog disturbed me so much I cried on the bus to wherever our field trip was. Isn't that weird? I remember this story so well but I don't even remember where we were going for an educational field trip. Could this happen in real life? Maybe. There is a news story of a man who was on the run from the cops and hide in a woman's house. When a woman was searching for her cats, she reached under her bed and felt human skin instead, but he didn't go psycho enough to murder the pets.
3. I Had A Bad Dream, Mommy
The Legend: "Mommy, I had a bad dream," you blink your eyes and pull up on your elbows, the clock next to you reads 3:23. "Do you want to climb into bed and tell me what it was about?" "No, mommy." That's weird, so weird that it makes you wake up fully. You can barely see your daughter in the dark room. "Why not, honey?" "Because in my dream, when I told you about the dream, the thing wearing daddy's skin sat up." For a moment, you're paralyzed, you can't take your eyes off your daughter. The covers beside you shift.
Reality: It's totally possible that you could marry a monster, but probably not like this.
4. Anansi's Goatman Story
The Legend: This is a story that was saved from 4chan's /x/ board, presented without my own commentary. It is longer than most of the other stories, but probably one of the scariest stories I've ever seen. Read it here.
Reality: Totally could happen.
The Legend: My friend goes camping a lot, she's been camping with her family since she was a kid, so when her friend had to bail on the trip, she was fine with going alone. It wouldn't be the first time she hiked and camped alone, so she wasn't worried, she'd just bring her camera to take some pictures of the trail and work on her photography anyway.
She hiked a new route this time, she'd only done it once before, but the trail was beaten and she wouldn't get lost, besides she had her GPS, worse comes to worse. When the sun started to set she set up her campsite, made herself dinner, and fell into a deep sleep. After all, it's easier to camp with two people, you can share the load of a tent and setting it up is easier. She was super tired.
The next day, when she was uploading her pictures onto her computer, everything looked great. Except… what she saw among the pictures stayed with her ever since and traumatizes her to this day. Among the pictures of the trees and mountains were five pictures of her asleep in her tent in the middle of the night.
This could happen, but don't you think you'd hear someone sneaking into your tent? And wooded areas usually have foliage on the ground to alert you to anyone approaching.
6. The Killer in the Backseat
The Legend: After a late shift at work, a woman is driving home, she's tired, but the music on the radio is good so she turns it up and starts to sing a long. It begins to rain heavily, and she puts on her wipers, after driving for about ten minutes, a truck appears behind her. She thinks nothing of it, not until the truck stars flashing it's lights and drives up close behind her. She opens her window and waves her hand, assuming he wants to pass.
Instead of passing, he falls back. She's confused, but rolls her eyes, it's probably just some trucker hocked up on caffeine pills. A few minutes later, the truck flashes his lights again, and comes right up to her bumper, almost hitting it. "Jackass!" She shouts and speeds up to get away from him.
She's annoyed, but mostly afraid, because she's starting to think this trucker is going to run her off the road or worse. A few minutes later the truck flashes its lights and starts beeping, getting closer and closer. She pulls over, to see if they'll pass. He pulls over too, and she panics. She drives off fast in hopes of losing him, she's only 5 minutes from home and she feels like she finally lost him.
All of a sudden the truck screeches up behind her, then speeds next to her. She looks into the cab and the man is signalling to pull over. She gets to her house just in time, exits the car, and runs inside. She locks her door and calls the police to tell them someone followed her home.
She looks out her window and watches the man get out of the truck and slowly approach her car, holding a tire iron. She's confused and goes to her door and opens it. The trucker drags a figure out of her back seat, and the police arrive to arrest the intruder. They remove an axe from her car. It turns out the trucker had seen the man raising the ax to kill her and he was trying to warn her, every time he flashed his lights, he'd lower himself in the back.
Reality: My dude, an AX?! Plus, what is your stragety when you kill a woman driving a car you're in? That's going to crash. Still, I check my backseat every single time I get in my car.
The Legend: In June of 1972, it's said a woman appeared in Cedar Senai hospital, in nothing but a white gown covered in blood. This, alone, isn't too surprising, as people often have accidents and come to a nearby hospital for attention. But there were two things that made people who saw her vomit and flee in terror.First, she wasn't exactly… human. She looked like a mannequin, but had the dexterity and movement of a normal human. Her face was as flawless as a mannequin, no eyebrows, but smeared in make up. And second, she had a kitten clenched between her teeth, her jaws clamped so unnaturally tight around it no teeth could be seen. Blood was still squirting out over her gown and onto the floor. She pulled it out of her mouth, threw it aside, and collapsed.
From the time she entered the hospital to when she was taken to a room to be cleaned and prepped for sedation, she was calm, expressionless, and motionless. Doctors thought it was best to restrain her until authorities arrived. She didn't protest. They couldn't get any kind of response from her, and the staff all were too uncomfortable to actually look at her for more than a few seconds.
But when the staff tried to sedate her, she fought back with an inhuman force. Two members tried to hold her down, and her body rose with the same blank expression. She turned her emotionless eyes to a male doctor and did something weird… she… smiled.
When she did, a female doctor screamed and let go out of shock. The women's teeth were not human, instead they were long, sharp spikes, too long for her to close her mouth fully without hurting herself. The doctor stared at her and asked, "What the hell are you?" She cracked her neck, and smiled. There was a long pause, and security was running up the hall.
He heard them, but she darted forward, sinking her teeth into his throat, ripping out his jugular, and letting him fall to the floor, gasping for air as his own blood drowned him. She stood up, leaned over him, and tuned to the security coming in. His eyes filled with fear as she walked calmly to security. His last sight was her feasting on them one by one. The female doctor survived, and named her "The Expressionless." She was never seen again.
Reality: Someone took a weird picture of a mannequin and someone wrote this.
8. The Babysitter and the Clown Statue
The Legend: A new babysitter were watching a young boy and girl. About an hour after the parents left for the night, they realized they had forgotten to give her their cell phone number, so one of them called her. After she wrote down the number, the babysitter asked if she could watch satellite TV in the parent's room, there was no cable downstairs because they didn't want their children watching too much junk. They said of course she could but she had one other request. Could she put a sheet or blanket over the clown statue in the bedroom? It made her nervous
The parents said, "Grab the children and go next door to the neighbors now. We don't have a clown statue." The police caught a man dressed as a clown leaving their house with a large knife.
Reality: I would 100% nope the f*ck out of any location with a life sized clown statue. Real human being or not.
9. The Russian Sleep Experiment
The story is longer than most, but very much worth the read. It tells the tale of four men who were chosen to perform an experiment with gas that would make them stay awake for days, what happens is horrifying. Read it here.
Reality: We don't know what the government really does behind closed doors, right?
The Legend: In Japan, Kuchisake-Onna is also known as the slit-mouth woman. Some say she was a samurai's wife. They say she cheated on her husband with a younger, better-looking man, and when the husband returned he was so enraged he took his sword and slit her mouth ear to ear. It is the woman's curse to never die, and she wanders the world so people can see her horrible scar. She wears a surigical mask and asks people, "Am I pretty?" and if they say yes, she rips off her mask to show them her wounds, and then asks again, "Am I pretty?" If you say no, she will brutally murder you, if you lie and say yes, she cuts your face just like her's, so you can be just as pretty as her. If you turn to run, she appears behind you. So there's no way to win with this one.
Reality: Kids are probably just afraid of people who wear surgical masks, even though they're sick and trying not to contaminate others. Or they're doctors.
11. The White Death
The Legend: The story is said to originate in either Scotland or Mexico, but it's all the same. A little girl there hated her life so much that she wanted to destroy every single trace of herself. She finally committed suicide, and shortly after, he family found what she had done. A few days after, all her family members died too, with all of their limbs ripped from their bodies. The legend says that when you learn abou the White Death, the girl's ghost might come and find you, and knock repeatidly at your door. Each knock gets louder and louder. If you open the door, she kills you so you can't tell anyone about her existence.
Reality: Sorry about telling you about the White Death, but we're all in this together, right?
12. The Grave Digger
The Legend: Before medical science made sure people were actually dead before they were buried, people were so afraid of waking up in a coffin that "safety coffins," became the rage. They were made with mechanisms to allow an occupant to signal that they were actually alive. Some had bells with a string that went down to the coffin, some had flags that could be raised, some had small tubes so screams could be heard. That's an actual fact, here's the legend:
In a small town in Southern USA in 1857, a local gravedigger heard a bell one night while walking through the cemetery, he ran over to see if a child was pretending to be a ghost, or the wind, but it with neither this time. A voice from below begged to be dug up. He looked at the gravestone as he realized what must have happened.
"Are you Sarah O'Bannon?"
"You were born on September 17, 1827?"
"The gravestone here says you died on February 20, 1857."
"No! I'm alive! It was a mistake! Dig me up, set me free!"
"Sorry about this, ma'am," the gravedigger said, stepping on the bell to silence it and plugging up the tube with dirt. "But this is August. Whatever you are down there, you sure as hell ain't alive no more, and you ain't comin' up."
Reality: The gravedigger acts like this happens all the time. Darn zombies!
13. Aren't You Glad You Didn't Turn on the Light?
The Legend: Two girls were matched as roommates, Kate was a socialite, she loved parties, and she loved guys. Jen was more of a wallflower, she kept to her studies, and had a small group of friends. They got along, but they didn't always see eye to eye when it came to visitors and staying over in their room. That night, there was a huge party on the floor above their dorm room. Jen said she was going to stay in and study, and Kate, who never missed a party, started to plan her outfit. Kate started to get ready and began playing loud music, while Jen was burried in her books. There was a knock on the door, and soon all of Kate's friends were laughing in the room, getting ready for the bash.
Kate rolled her eyes, grabbed her books, and went to the library, which was open late because it was finals week. She studied until 2AM, when she figured she should head back to her dorm and get some sleep before her 9AM final the next day. When she entered the dark room she could hear her people making a lot of sexual noises. Jen had accidentally caught her roommate having sex on a few occassions, so she didn't want to turn on the light to see it again. "Nice to know you enjoyed the party," Jen said sarcastically and flopped into her own bed. The noises carried on and Jen put on her MP3 player and drifted to sleep.
The next morning she woke up to the smell of somethnig metalic, she turned over to look at her roommate and screamed. Kate was lying in a pool of blood. On the wall, written in her blood, were the words, "Aren't you glad you didn't turn on the light?"
Reality: Again, an urban legend serves as a cautionary tale to not be sexually active. While horrible things do happen on college campus, a killer probably wouldn't risk being caught by spending the time to mock a roommate and write on the walls.
14. Candle Cove
This one has been making it rounds on the internet for a while. Here it is, from CreepyPasta:
NetNostalgia Forum – Television (local)
Subject: Candle Cove local kid's show?
Does anyone remember this kid's show? It was called Candle Cove and I must have been 6 or 7. I never found reference to it anywhere so I think it was on a local station around 1971 or 1972. I lived in Ironton at the time. I don't remember which station, but I do remember it was on at a weird time, like 4:00 PM.
mike_painter65: it seems really familiar to me…..i grew up outside of ashland and was 9 yrs old in 72. candle cove…was it about pirates? i remember a pirate marionete at the mouth of a cave talking to a little girl
Skyshale033: YES! Okay I'm not crazy! I remember Pirate Percy. I was always kind of scared of him. He looked like he was built from parts of other dolls, real low-budget. His head was an old porcelain baby doll, looked like an antique that didn't belong on the body. I don't remember what station this was! I don't think it was WTSF though.
Jaren_2005: Sorry to ressurect this old thread but I know exactly what show you mean, Skyshale. I think Candle Cove ran for only a couple months in '71, not '72. I was 12 and I watched it a few times with my brother. It was channel 58, whatever station that was. My mom would let me switch to it after the news. Let me see what I remember.
It took place in Candle cove, and it was about a little girl who imagined herself to be friends with pirates. The pirate ship was called the Laughingstock, and Pirate Percy wasn't a very good pirate because he got scared too easily. And there was calliope music constantly playing. Don't remember the girl's name. Janice or Jade or something. Think it was Janice.
Skyshale033: Thank you Jaren!!! Memories flooded back when you mentioned the Laughingstock and channel 58. I remember the bow of the ship was a wooden smiling face, with the lower jaw submerged. It looked like it was swallowing the sea and it had that awful Ed Wynn voice and laugh. I especially remember how jarring it was when they switched from the wooden/plastic model, to the foam puppet version of the head that talked.
mike_painter65: ha ha i remember now too. do you remember this part skyshale: "you have…to go…INSIDE."
Skyshale033: Ugh mike, I got a chill reading that. Yes I remember. That's what the ship always told Percy when there was a spooky place he had to go in, like a cave or a dark room where the treasure was. And the camera would push in on Laughingstock's face with each pause. YOU HAVE… TO GO… INSIDE. With his two eyes askew and that flopping foam jaw and the fishing line that opened and closed it. Ugh. It just looked so cheap and awful.
You guys remember the villain? He had a face that was just a handlebar mustache above really tall, narrow teeth.
kevin_hart: i honestly, honestly thought the villain was pirate percy. i was about 5 when this show was on. nightmare fuel.
Jaren_2005: That wasn't the villain, the puppet with the mustache. That was the villain's sidekick, Horace Horrible. He had a monocle too, but it was on top of the mustache. I used to think that meant he had only one eye.
But yeah, the villain was another marionette. The Skin-Taker. I can't believe what they let us watch back then.
kevin_hart: jesus h. christ, the skin taker. what kind of a kids show were we watching? i seriously could not look at the screen when the skin taker showed up. he just descended out of nowhere on his strings, just a dirty skeleton wearing that brown top hat and cape. and his glass eyes that were too big for his skull. christ almighty.
Skyshale033: Wasn't his top hat and cloak all sewn up crazily? Was that supposed to be children's skin??
mike_painter65: yeah i think so. rememer his mouth didn't open and close, his jaw just slid back and foth. i remember the little girl said "why does your mouth move like that" and the skin-taker didn't look at the girl but at the camera and said "TO GRIND YOUR SKIN"
Skyshale033: I'm so relieved that other people remember this terrible show!
I used to have this awful memory, a bad dream I had where the opening jingle ended, the show faded in from black, and all the characters were there, but the camera was just cutting to each of their faces, and they were just screaming, and the puppets and marionettes were flailing spastically, and just all screaming, screaming. The girl was just moaning and crying like she had been through hours of this. I woke up many times from that nightmare. I used to wet the bed when I had it.
kevin_hart: i don't think that was a dream. i remember that. i remember that was an episode.
Skyshale033: No no no, not possible. There was no plot or anything, I mean literally just standing in place crying and screaming for the whole show.
kevin_hart: maybe i'm manufacturing the memory because you said that, but i swear to god i remember seeing what you described. they just screamed.
Jaren_2005: Oh God. Yes. The little girl, Janice, I remember seeing her shake. And the Skin-Taker screaming through his gnashing teeth, his jaw careening so wildly I thought it would come off its wire hinges. I turned it off and it was the last time I watched. I ran to tell my brother and we didn't have the courage to turn it back on.
mike_painter: i visited my mom today at the nursing home. i asked her about when i was littel in the early 70s, when i was 8 or 9 and if she remebered a kid's show, candle cove. she said she was suprised i could remember that and i asked why, and she said "because i used to think it was so strange that you said 'i'm gona go watch candle cove now mom' and then you would tune the tv to static and juts watch dead air for 30 minutes. you had a big imagination with your little pirate show."
Reality: This was found on this site. Is it possible that a TV station somehow transmitted a totally messed up show to a few children? Probably not.
15. The Dionaea House
The Legend: Posted in 2004, this is a journal-style series about a house that possesses anyone who goes near it. It's incredibly engaging and truly terrifying. You have to experience the whole thing through this site. Don't worry, it's just text, but it's a rabbit hole. Once you go in, you just get deeper and deeper.
Reality: This was written by someone, who knows if it's real?