AskReaders Fact List

AskReaders: What’s the creepiest urban legend/folklore you’ve ever heard?

Sometime ago we asked our regular contributors through e-mail, What’s the creepiest urban legend/folklore you’ve ever heard? We got many interesting response. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way and most of the respondents have requested to stay anonymous, so no names will be published.

1-5 Creepiest Urban Legend

Beast

01. On the little island I grew up on, there was a story of a “beast” that would come into your home at night and fiddle with kids. And it turned out to be true. He entered homes at night dressed in a rubber mask and nail-studded wristlets, attacking women and children. It went on for a period of eleven years from 1960 as the beast roamed the island. He was caught in 1971. Story here. And then there was a book. The cover gives you an idea of what the Beast of Jersey looked like. The above pic is an actual picture of his mask & his face.

02. Mothman. In a 13 months period between 1965-1966, the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia reported seeing a winged beast with big red eyes. The last report was the beast standing on the Silver Bridge and then the Silver Bridge collapsed. The beast wasn’t reported again afterwards.

The whole area was in a sort of mass-hysteria during that 13 months, with people reporting all kinds of things, from “Men in Black” to alien abductions, to fairies and leprechauns. The bridge collapse was the end of it.

03. In my town, there was always talk of a monster/ghost/whatever living in the top of our primary school. There was always signs, but they were brushed off as things that you would usually find in a school; half-eaten food, damaged tables, etc.

But then weirder things would happen like some ceiling panels disappearing or noises. I totally get why people would see this as a red-flag of something bad happening, but the school was always getting work done on it so I think even the teachers assumed it wasn’t anything too serious. This went on for around 2 years and whilst we we’re on a 6-week break (luckily) it turned out that a guy was living in the ceilings of the classrooms, and he must’ve been coming down for food out of the canteen regularly when it was quiet enough for him not to get caught.

The creepiest thing about all this, isn’t that it was just childish rumors turned out to be true, or that he had been there whilst lessons were happening, its that the reason he was caught, was because he died and the caretaker smelt something awful and went up there assuming it was rats or a pipeline leak.

Needless to say, parents were informed and a lot of kids didn’t come back to school after the break.

04. This is one of those stories that keep your mouth wide open and your eyes bulgy. So this is not mine but my dad’s story. When he was a young adult, before he got married to my sweet mum, he had this very good friend, they met in school and hit it off. This friend we will call John. John’s mum had a little store where she sold drinks, food, candy and other groceries, so John was like this cool kid back then if you know what I mean (free food, free drinks if you became John’s friend).

So, well he became good friends with my dad and they always met in the shop. God knows what mischief they embarked on being young adults and knowing my dad A LOT (lol). John’s mum, sister, and younger brother knew my dad as they had gotten that close.

Then fast forward to a couple of years later, they’ve both gone their separate ways trying to find their footing being grown men. They hadn’t heard from each other in years. So that fateful morning when dad went out and to his surprise saw John at a bus station. They talked and laughed like old times and then, according to dad, John became sad and said my dad never called on him and his family, that he should have at least gone to check on his mum and sister (sister had a crush on dad then). Dad felt bad and agreed to go say hi to them at the shop. The bus came and he hopped on and went on his way.

A week later he decides to go visit shop, hoping to find John’s mum, the sister or John himself. He even bought some gifts (you know, to apologize). He laughed at how foolish he looked with his gifts when he learnt what happened.

So he got there and saw the mum, greeted her and apologized for not coming by to say hi after all these years and she told him it was fine. He proceeded to tell her that he even met John some time last week and they had a good talk, and asked her where he was. This was when the woman looked shocked and white as if she was suffering a stroke. Confused, dad asked what was wrong and when the woman finally came to she said John had been dead months ago and broke down weeping. Dad was even more confused because he had talked to John just last week.

Long story short, John really was dead. He had died in an accident and dad almost fainted when he saw it was true. The experience saddens him and makes him laugh too. He was glad his friend chose to somehow say goodbye to him.

05. Clownman. I lived right outside Pittsburgh, PA as a teenager, in a little, poor, town called Swissvale. The next communities over are Rankin and Braddock, which are steel production heyday ghost towns that have been plagued with poverty. A strip of woods, lined by a train track follow the river upon which our communities reside. Right next to the river looms the decrepit abandoned steel mill I believe once called Carrie Furnace. As teenagers do, my friends and I used to cut through the park, across the tracks, and to the river to drink, smoke pots, and hang out. Eventually, we started exploring the steel mill. I loved it. The graffiti and sculptural artists, the wildlife that randomly took over, the bums who made it home, etc all made it a worthwhile adventure. I became comfortable there. Then my friends told me about an abduction and rape of a teenager whose naked and bloodied body ended up strung up on a set of city steps. The killer was an insane man who dressed as a clown with a horrid, bloodstained mask. “He lives in the woods and in the steel mill. He walks the tracks with a butcher knife that he hasn’t even bothered to clean. Don’t come here alone”. I got into a fight with a boyfriend one night and stubbornly decided to walk alone from the river – across the tracks, and through the woods. I got to the tracks, turned and looked at the steel mill. Further down the tracks I saw a figure. I couldn’t see a face, but the baggy pants were rather clown like. I ran like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve never felt fear like that before. It was probably a bum. But who takes chances with an urban legend like that?

6-10 Creepiest Urban Legend

Poinciana

06. I live in Northern Australia and everyone growing up in my town knows of the legend of the poinciana woman.

A quick google search will elaborate into the many variations to the story but the one I grew up to know is that of a woman who was raped by Japanese fishermen who hanged herself from a poinciana tree when she had discovered she was pregnant. She is said to appear as a beautiful woman to entice men; with long dark hair dressed in a white gown, and is said to be situated at our army reserve.

When I was around twelve, and my younger brother ten, he had been in his room and I was in the lounge room on the computer. He had come barreling out from his room screaming can you hear that! Can you hear that?! before dragging me over to the window.

There was a faint feminine moan/hum, we could hear it moving from the window we stood at, to the one across the room and back in a clockwise direction. The wind had picked up with the noise despite how still the night had been. The sound became so loud that we were on the floor covering our ears crying, when I’ve brought it up recently my brother agrees it was almost as if the sound had been in our heads. This went on for about ten minutes before abruptly stopping. No wind, nothing.

We found out the next day that our older siblings had been at the army reserve that night before they got home, had climbed the concrete pillars to the locked gun turret and had been “taunting” the poinciana woman before they left when they heard footsteps assuming it was security.

What creeps me out most is that not long after this happened, I realized that we had a poinciana tree outside of that window.

07. So, I had a football coach back in high school who was also one of my teachers for a semester. He told us one story that freaked us all out pretty bad.

He had a coaching job at a small college in Montana when he was a lot younger and newly married. He said that after practice one evening, he was making his long commute home, and the route ran alongside just fields and fields of hay, grain, whatever. Since it was late summer/early fall, it wasn’t even approaching dark yet. His car was an old beat up truck with just a bench seat.

Anyway, he’s driving along when he sees a hitchhiker on the shoulder. This being back in the day and in small-town Montana, my teacher pulled over to let the guy in without a second thought. The man was described as wearing a really old, outdated style of suit. Not quite a zoot suit, but styled in a similar, baggy way. He also had a big, stylish hat. This guy looked like he was out of the 40’s, and “sort of like a pimp”. My teacher thought it was weird that he was so overdressed, it being super hot out. But maybe that was the only clothing he had.

So the guy gets in next to my teacher without a word. Teacher asks him where he needs to go, and the guy just points forward. Teacher drives on.

Later, my teacher tried talking to the guy, just trying to make simple conversation, but the guy wouldn’t speak or even acknowledge him. He just pulled his hat down like he was sleeping.

Out of nowhere, the guy just tips up his hat, looks out the window, and says “Stop the car, Now.” My teacher pulls over and lets him out, not wanting to offend a possibly crazy man. The guy stands on the side of the road for a second, and then at a dead sprint, just runs off into the field beside the road, until my teacher couldn’t see him anymore (granted the crop was fairly tall). He waits there for a while, thinking maybe the guy had the runs or something and didn’t want to sh*t next to the road. After a long enough wait, my teacher gets back in the truck and starts to accelerate back on to the road.

The thing about really old trucks is that they don’t accelerate very fast. As my teacher got back on to the road, he looked in his rearview mirror to check for a safe merge. But there wasn’t a car in sight. What there was, was the hitchhiker, on all fours like an animal, running (crawling?) after the truck at an inhuman speed. Meanwhile, my teacher is beginning to fish-tail as he attempts to go faster. The whole time his eyes glued on the mirror, watching the man chase after his car.

Eventually, he was able to get up to speed and lose sight of the guy in his mirror. When he was able to stop at a gas station to use a pay phone, he called his wife at home to tell her the story, and to lock up the house. She thinks he’s just messing with her, and he had been talking to her coworker about the hitchhiker. When he asks why she would think that, apparently at her office in the town she worked in, one of her coworkers told her a story of the exact same thing happening to them. And it is a well-known urban legend in that town. She thought it was just folks playing with the new girl at work, who had to drive home alone at night.

Anyways, my teacher assured her that he was not lying, and she evidently believes him and can vouch for her side of the story, because she showed up to one of our fundraisers and I asked her about it.

So yeah, now I just avoid lonely roads in Montana.

08. There was a tale in Andros (Bahamas) that there used to be a midget sized creature that lived in the woods and would steal children (as I was told). Then, recently, they found evidence of there being a midget sized creature that lived in the woods. Turns out it was a three foot tall ground dwelling owl.

09. My mum told me this story about the village where she grew up in Scotland.

The village’s earliest known settlement is from 3000BC, so it’s old. It’s been home to the Picts and the Romans. Nowadays there is a small woodland and the rest of the surrounding land is farmland. The woods used to be much larger, they are what survives of a large forest that almost completely surrounded the village. Legend says the forest was home to witches.

When the forest was being cleared for expanding farmland a lone witch came out of the forest to tell the villagers to stop. She said the trees would not forgive man for their destruction and if the villagers did not heed her words then all of their land would become infertile as well as the women.

Frightened, the villagers agreed but asked for a small part of the forest. A deal was made that this, and only this land could be cleared. The witch also said that for every harvest of every crop grown there, one sack of produce must be taken to the edge of the forest and left.

This practice was followed for hundreds of years until the villagers abruptly tore down much of the remaining forest to grow wheat and build a mill. Again a strange woman came from the forest into the village and threatened the villagers. She said they had broken the promise and would suffer. This time the villagers took the woman and hanged her. Her last words were that the price was now three sacks.

The man who built the mill was scared and after the first harvest he took three sacks into the woods. Unlike his neighbors his crops did not fail and his wife became pregnant. Always he paid the woods their due and before long he was the richest man in the village and had three beautiful, healthy daughters.

Unfortunately the man grew greedy and thought he’d no longer pay his three sacks. The next morning his youngest daughter went missing. The whole village came to help look for her but the man asked that his men run the mill as normal so he didn’t lose any money. There was soon a commotion at the mill, some of the workers had fainted others were crying, some were shouting. The man came to see what was happening. A horrified worker told him they had started up the mill as normal, but blood had poured from between the stones. They had found his missing daughter.

Distraught the man sold his land and fled the village with his family. The mill was torn down and years later a silo was built there. By the 1960’s the silo was ancient and crumbling. It was also rumored to be haunted either by the farmer, his daughter or the witch. Sometimes all three.

This part is my mum’s story. One day she and her friends had a bet to see who could spend a night in the silo. One boy who was always boasting of his bravery volunteered. Between them, my mum and her friends conspired to keep this a secret from their parents by lying about camping in each other’s gardens. That evening the boy, John, climbed the silo loft and mum and her friend gave him a bag of food, a blanket and a torch. They told him they’d be back in the morning but were actually planning on coming back later to frighten him.

They had waited a few hours and snuck back to the silo and alarmingly they could her John sobbing and crying for help. They found him quite away from the silo pulling himself along on his stomach. John had jumped out the silo loft and broken his ankles. He was carried back to his parent’s house and taken to hospital. After the inevitable week of punishment my mum was allowed to visit John. She said he still looked as terrified then as he had that night. She asked him what happened. He said he told his parents and the doctors that he fell but the truth was he saw something. Not long after he was left on his own he could hear something shuffling around in the loft. He used the torch to see but there was only empty grain bags. He tried to ignore the noise but finally it sounded like it was moving toward him. When he shone the torch on the grain bags again he saw that they were crawling, dragging themselves along the floor towards him. That’s why he jumped. The silo’s long been demolished but they’ve built homes there now. Eeek!

10. So about my 3rd year in Japan I move to a small town. I am living way up in the woods north of the little town I work in. It is a narrow winding road with a river on one side and a steep mountain on the other. The road is so narrow that there are places to pull over and wait if another car is coming.

One night I am heading home after work, keeping in mind that if I see a car heading towards me I (or they ) have to pull over. I am heading north with the river on my left and mountain on my right. I get to this place that the road curves to the left with a big rock on the left side of the road, right at the curve. I see car lights of a white taurus type car to the left of the rock (kind of over the river) coming from the other side and so I pull over to wait for them to pass.

I keep waiting for them to come around the rock (which has a small shrine in it) but they never come. Huh. Weird… but there are a few buildings up there. Maybe they pulled in just as the rock obscured my vision of them. I head home without thinking much about it.

Later that night I get the munchies and the only store was back south in the main part of town. So I am driving south this time and come to that same corner. And I see the same white car, past the rock shrine, coming north towards me. This time I am by the buildings and I pull over and wait for him to pass. But no car comes.

This is really weird because on the north side there are places a car could disappear but on the south side there is no where to go. Only a steep mountain on one side and a river on the other. As I ease around the bend…nothing. No car to be seen.

So this sticks with me until one day in October I am teaching a culture lesson about Halloween in the local junior high school. The subject of ghosts comes up and I jokingly say, “Hey, I think I saw a ghost! Do you know the road that goes north with the shrine in the corner of…”

SCREAMS OF TERROR FROM HALF THE CLASS

Like total panic, girls are crying, guys are shouting, and the Japanese teacher has gone deadly white. Some are literally in the fetal position moaning “stop stop” over and over. I was floored at the reaction. It seems that the rock was a dangerous place but was unable to be removed because of the shrine without offending the gods there. A white car crashed into it and someone died. People freaked because there was no way I could have known about it. Link to the place to go see for yourself.

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