Local People Share Their Lesser Known Urban Legends In Their Community
Where we live, there are tons of urban legends. Home happens to be in a town with a history of mob murders, drug smuggling, transients, and a seven-foot-tall sasquatch thing that lives in the swamp and supposedly smells kind of like feet, kind of like intense sour cream. When one Reddit user asked:
We wondered, are other people's urban legends as seemingly ridiculous as this one? The answer is yes. They're also sad, funny, kind of terrifying, and really interesting. We grabbed 20 of our favorites, including one about out precious "Skunk Ape", and put them here for you guys.
Poludnica is like banshee's hotter sister that lives during the day. She's a spirit from Slavic mythology who's name can be translated to "Noon-lady". Basically she wanders on the fields during noontime and if she catches a farmer sleeping in the crops, she kills him by decapitation with a sickle. Also she kidnaps lost children and puts them in a large sack.
There's a ww2 monument with an old tank near main building of one of the universities. They say when a virgin graduates from the university, the tank makes a shot. Up to this day I've never heard of it shooting once.
During the napoleonic wars, allegedly a ship sank off the coast of my town. All of the crew supposedly died, with the exception of a monkey, who was dressed in a uniform. Having never seen a French man before, the kind people of Hartlepool held a tribunal on the beach and sentenced the poor monkey to death by hanging - for being a French spy. I went to college in Hartlepool and I was told by someone from the town that the 'monkey' was actually a little boy, and the story had been altered so people could tell it to each other without talking about kids dying.
Since then, people from my town, including myself, are nicknamed 'Monkey hangers'.
What makes it more amusing is that our local football team mascot was a monkey, and the guy in said outfit ran for mayor of the town.
There's a old house to the north of my hometown in Scotland called Overtoun House, and the legend goes that walking your dog along the bridge that leads up to the house will cause it to spontaneously leap to its death from the bridge.
This is an observable thing that actually has happened at least 50 times.
People will refuse to cross the bridge, as there are also people who report feeling suddenly and unexpectedly depressed after crossing.
There's an old Scottish myth of a "Thin Place" where the afterlife and the physical world are very close together; Overtoun Bridge is said to be one of these places.
There was a documentary on this bridge on National Geographic. If i recall correctly, there is a little stream below and the running water produces some kind of sound frequency which dogs can hear but not humans.
Also, from the bridge it looks to dogs that the bottom is not far down. The treetops just look like shrubs to them, and their curiosity about the sound frequency causes them to jump to investigate it - often to their deaths. There was one case where a dog survived after jumping off. An acoustic engineer went to the bridge and confirmed no strange sounds or tones - however an animal expert went, found a load of mink living there and did a field test with dogs. 80% of them went straight for the mink smell, the bridge blocks out the dogs hearing and sight, so their sense of smell goes into overdrive - they jump off the bridge looking for the minks
The Town That Fooled The British
St. Michaels, Maryland. The legend is that when the British came in the war of 1812, we hung our lanterns from the trees instead of our houses and their cannonfire overshot our town entirely. The only house hit, the "Cannonball House", is a tourist destination. We are referred to as "The Town That Fooled The British", right on our sign welcoming you into the town.
Sadly, none of that happened. The house totally got hit, but we made up the bit about the lanterns to make the story cooler. We're the town that fooled the tourists.
Old Man Belfield
Our University campus has an old homeless man that lives on it. He is absolutely harmless, never speaks, but always gives you a smile and a nod. He gets free meals and coffee in the canteen and spends his day ambling about the campus. There are loads of origin stories, He was a professor who had a break down/ When the restaurant came under new management they refused to feed him for free, the entire student body boycotted the place and he got his dinners.
No one knows who he is, what he did or why the university lets him stroll about. Every new generation has a new story and everyone loves "old man Belfield" In the 20+ years he's been about many people have tried talking to him, he never talks back, just smiles and nods.
If you see something in the water (like a lake or a river) that looks like human hair and you think it could be a dead body, you get the hell away from it. If you go check it out, you will drown. Dead bodies cannot stand upright in the water, so if it's a real dead body you'd see more than the hair.
Drowned spirits are stuck on earth and they have to get someone else to drown to 'replace' them in order to be free, so they lure people like that and drown them.
Urban Legend of Kuldhara, India.
Kuldhara village in Rajasthan, India was abandoned overnight leaving behind an entire village of crumbling homes and buildings. Legend has it that the ruler of the region took a keen interest in the daughter of the subjugated village chief, and to escape humiliation the entire village of 1500 disappeared overnight. It is said the village chief cursed the abandoned village, in a way that anyone who tried to inhabit it would die. Even today, visiting the village is only something the brave would try and staying the night is at one's own risk.
Members of the Paranormal Society of Delhi stayed the night and reported supernatural happenings such unexplained moving shadows, footprints, noises and touching.
I'm from Malta -- one of our islands, Gozo, is said to be the location of Calypso's cave in Homer's Odyssey. Gozo also hosts the world's oldest free standing structure, which is called Ggantija because it was believed to have been built by giants ("gganti" in Maltese).
The alleged cave isn't actually that impressive, even though Gozo is full of beautiful stone formations -- the most notable being the Azure Window in Dwejra, which served as the backdrop of Dany and Drogo's wedding
This one is really strange since EVERYONE in Liverpool has heard of or has stories of meeting purple Aki. It's even weirder that he's not really a myth, he actually exists. But everyone "knows someone" who was assaulted by him at one point or other. He's basically a huge gay black dude that's obsessed with bodybuilders and the likes who once made some young men literally squat him and that's where his infamy came from. It led to him being banned from a whole town and also not allowed to visit any gyms.
He's also banned from touching, squeezing, or measuring muscles. He's also responsible for the death of a young man who ran onto a train track to get away from him. Grizzly stuff. My favorite part of the BBC article is that after he was confined to prison, he insisted on measuring the inmates muscles with a shoelace.
In my town we have The Cult.
It's a really big house with super tall fences topped with barbed wire. There's hedges planted around it so you can't see into the property, gates with cameras and guards at the front. Armed guards walk around (or at least used to, I haven't been out there in ages) the fences and none of the neighbors mow all the way to the fence line. Supposedly vans come and go out of the place all hours of the night certain times of the year.
The place has been an urban legend here since my mom was a kid, and for the life of me I've never been able to figure out who owns the place.
Raymond "Ray" Robinson (October 29, 1910 -- June 11, 1985) was a severely disfigured man whose years of nighttime walks made him into a figure of urban legend in western Pennsylvania. Robinson was so badly injured in a childhood electrical accident that he could not go out in public without fear of creating a panic, so he went for long walks at night.
Local tourists, who would drive along his road in hopes of meeting him, called him The Green Man or Charlie No-Face. They passed on tales about him to their children and grandchildren, and people raised on these tales are sometimes surprised to discover that he was a real person who was liked by his family and neighbors.
Ol' Green Eyes
Green eyes. I live near the Chickamauga Battlefield and there is an old story of a ghost soldier. You can ride through the battlefield at night and sometimes you'll see a pair of green eyes and that's the dead soldier. It's actually just deer.
It's a fun story that parents tell their kids so when they drive through at night, they look for green eyes and then freak out when they see them. I LOVED driving through at night trying to spot Ol' Green Eyes.
The library in my hometown is attached to a 200+ year old mansion that was said to be haunted. Specifically, the attic, which is huge and shadowy and tends to collect dead pigeons. The local paper even did a story about the supposed haunting, with photo 'proof'. The library did lock-in nights in the summer and they'd tell scary stories in the attic, which wasn't so bad because you were with a group.
I ended up working at the library and would have to go up in the attic, alone, at night to make sure no one stayed behind after we closed. The attic had a gated stairway with a lock, and a few times when I was up there, alone in the house, I'd hear it bang shut.
Here in my country, there is a legend that if you pee in nature (i.e. bush, side of tree, mound of soil) you have to say "Tabi-tabi po" which means "Step aside please" or "Excuse me please" or else the mythical creatures residing there will curse your genitals and make you sick until you die.
The Jersey Devil. Mrs. Leeds had 12 children, out of frustration she cursed the 13th. When it was born it changed into a devil, flew up the chimney, and has haunted Jersey since.
I live in the middle of the Pinelands and have ALWAYS been terrified of the Jersey Devil. My dad once took us out to watch a meteor shower. We went out into the middle an areas with absolutely no lights, just scrubby pine trees all around in order to see the sky better. The second I got out of the car, you could feel something else there. I made it ten steps out of the car when I heard cracking branches in the woods not far behind me. At first I thought that it was a coyote, so I spun around.
Through the trees I saw the flash of something run away mostly upright, so definitely not a coyote. I wasn't willing to take a chance that it was my imagination, I turned around and legged it back to the car and stayed there for the remainder of the time. I still won't drive down that area at night.
No way, no how.
I grew up in a small rural village in Ireland (still in Ireland, just in the city now). There's some woods up the hill across from my parents' house that has a fairy ring it. Our elderly neighbour Jim once told us that he wandered into the woods one night when he was a teenager, and wasn't able to find his way out until morning because the fairies trapped him. There's also a story of a banshee residing there, which terrified my sister.
I think every town in Ireland has a story about fairies that trap them in fields. My great grandfather claimed fairies trapped him in, had nothing to do with the fact that he was pissed as a fart, nothing at all.
In Louisiana, we have about a hundred of these urban legends. When you combine the Creole voodoo culture with the folk-tale-loving Cajun population with the still-standing plantation homes and reminders of slavery's legacy here with the former War of 1812 / Civil War battlefields with the fact that our capital was largely built on Native American burial grounds, you're going to get a nice medley of the supernatural. The haunted plantation homes, the Civil War ghosts, the pirate ghosts, the haunted tunnels under LSU (a secret CIA base?), and Scooby Doo on Zombie Island all come to mind.
My favorite is the Loup-Garou (also called Rougarou). It's a werewolf that would prowl the swamps of south Louisiana and outside New Orleans and prey on bad kids. It would also hunt down and kill Catholics who weren't following the rules of Lent. And if you were attacked by the loup-garou, you would become one (but only at night) if you told others about it.
Skunk Ape. Imagine a kind of Bigfoot dude that looks more like a gorilla and lives in the Everglades of Florida and smells like sh!t. Yep.
People from my home county of Wiltshire are sometimes referred to as "moonrakers". There's a legend stating that during the 18th century when smuggling was common in the west country, smugglers would hide barrels of French brandy in a local pond or lake, which they would fish out of the water after dark using rakes.
One night, the smugglers were caught in the act by the police and when asked what they were doing, they said that they were trying to rake in the wheel of "cheese" that was floating in the water. The "cheese" was actually the reflection of the moon in the water and assuming the smugglers were simpletons, the police went on their way, oblivious to what the smugglers were really doing.