We’ve all heard classic urban legends like the killer in the backseat and Bloody Mary. Urban legends are born and bred from events that affect and concern us. Some strike more of a nerve than others, and some of these legends are stories you might not have heard. But that doesn’t mean you won’t sleep with the lights on tonight.
Carmen Winstead: Bullying is a universal and timeless topic, but it’s become even more prominent in the past decade with the dawn of cyberbullying. In 2006, a new internet bullying legend cropped up. Carmen Winstead was the subject of an e-mail chain, a victim of bullying who was pushed down a sewer by her tormenters and died as a result. The e-mail warns that Carmen will come for anyone who doesn’t pass her story on.
Slit mouthed woman: The slit mouthed woman is a Japanese urban legend. There are different versions of how she came about. Some say it was plastic surgery gone wrong. Others say she was hit by a car. When she approaches a victim, she wears a surgical mask, which is common in Japan during flu season. She asks “am I beautiful?” But before you can answer, she rips off her mask to reveal a hideous slit across her face. “Am I beautiful now?” she questions you. If you answer no, she will chop off your head with a giant pair of scissors. If you say yes, she will use her scissors to slice your mouth open just like hers. The only way to escape her is to give a vague answer like “I don’t know.” This will confuse her and give you time to run away. Other versions of the story offer no escape once she approaches you.
Teke Teke: The Japanese sure have some great urban legends. Teke Teke is the story of a girl who was sliced in half by a train. Her ghost still roams the Japanese countryside, looking for unsuspecting children to snatch and carve in half. Her name comes from the noise she makes as she scuttles along.
The Last One: A woman is approached by a presumably blind man who asks her to deliver a note. It’s on her way home, so she agrees. But as the man walks off, she sees him shed his cane and sunglasses. Suspicious, she takes the note to the police instead. There is an address written on the note, and when they go there they find a butcher shop with dozens of human bodies in the back. The note reads, “this is the last one I’m sending you today.”
The Licked Hand: I first heard this story at a slumber party when I was a kid, but haven’t heard it much since. As the story goes, a young girl is left home alone at night. She climbs into bed and lowers her hand for her dog, who is always resting under the bed, to lick. This reassures her that she’s not alone. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, she reaches her hand down and again feels the familiar lick of her dog. She gets up and heads for the bathroom, where she sees the dog’s bloody corpse hanging from the shower. Written in blood are the words “humans can lick hands too.”
Cropsey: In 2009, filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio released their movie Cropsey, based on an urban legend they heard growing up on Staten Island. Cropsey is a man who lives in an abandoned mental hospital (from which he presumably escaped years earlier) and snatches children from the streets. He’s often depicted as either having a hook for a hand or carrying an ax, both popular staples of urban legends. The movie investigates the disappearances of five children in the area, thought to be the work of Cropsey, and the trial of the man accused of the kidnappings and murders.
Are there any other urban legends you love telling? What are some of your favorites?