We’ve all heard them. The scary stories about the crazy murderer that was living in the other part of town, or the person who woke up in the bath tub with a missing kidney and a crumpled twenty dollar bill beside them. These urban legends are passed along by mouth, in the form of a story at the campfire and the the late night sleepover conversation. When I learned a new one of these urban legends it always made me want to find out the truth of where it came from. Here are some of the most common urban legends and where they originally come from.
The Hook Man
The story of the crazed psychopath who escaped jail and is hunting down young lovers, is probably the first urban legend I had ever heard. This one was especially terrifying to me since I lived within 10 miles of the nearest jail. This legend has been around since the 1950’s and seems to have the common message that sex is bad underneath the main story. While it’s been heard many times and many ways, this story does not seem to have a basis in any true case or incident.
Chicken Fried Cat
You’ve all heard to be careful when eating Chinese since you never will know what you’re actually eating. I’ve heard all the stories from stray cats to trapped rats, and wanted to know if this story had any truth at all. This urban legend dates back over 150 years and derives from the fact that there are places in China that have no restrictions on what you can eat. However, no such restaurants have been found in the United States even after the Health Department has been notified and investigates.
Kids Are Using _______ to Get High!
This was one that you often heard parents swapping about their middle or high school children. One that was passed around when I was younger was that kids were taking a crazy amount of b vitamins to get high. This wasn’t true but that didn’t stop many of us have our parents “regulate” our daily vitamin intake. Another more recent version was that kids were smoking bed bugs to get high. The truth about this fake news story was that it was made from various news reports smashed together as a prank. Very few stories about kids getting high in weird ways is true.
The Back Seat Killer
In this urban legend a woman is driving home from a friends party when all of a sudden a truck pulls behind her and turns on his high beams. The woman starts to panic and drives faster toward her home. The truck keeps up with her and flashes his high beams every couple of minutes. When she gets home she races to unlock her door. The man runs over and screams at the lady to call the cops. Someone had been in her car the whole time, trying to stab her from the back seat as he was trying to warn her. This story, while not based in reality, kept me checking the back seat of my car for weeks after hearing it.
Another story that gets passed around and largely plays on the many fears that come from being claustrophobic, afraid of the dark, and death. The story is that someone appears to die but a close relative feels uneasy about the burial. They are usually said to feel that the person isn’t actually dead and protests the burial of their relative to the point of needing sedation. A week after the burial their certainty becomes an obsession and they dig up the remains only to find, to everyone’s’ horror, the fingernails of the corpse bent back and scratches on the lid of the coffin. This story has given me, and I’m sure many others, nightmares for years about being buried alive and comes from the days where bodies were not embalmed before burial. Some burials did occur before the body was actually dead, leading to many people installing ways to alert the above world to their situation if they would wake up dead..
These are all great scary stories for the next time you’re gathered around the bonfire with your friends, however, these are not based on any sort of fact based truth. Scare your friends without scaring yourself by telling one of these urban legends.
Urban Legends- About