One of my favorite things about the Halloween season is the yearly resurgence of the “it totally happened to my cousin’s friend” urban legends. When I was a kid and the Internet was not so ubiquitous (OK, or around, I’m old-by-interweb standards), we’d be treated to dozens of news stories and articles about the dangers that the season held. Maybe it would be the “razor blade in the apple/candy.”Or maybe the one about people in costumes abducting kids off the street. One year, my sibling’s elementary school sent home a parental news letter about temporary tattoos that were laced with LSD and being given to unsuspecting children! Maybe you heard about that time at your local mall where the psychotic killer was hiding under cars waiting to slash your Achilles tendon and abduct you!
Thanks to Snopes.com and the likes of Jan Harold Brunvand, these days many of the best stories are debunked before they get very far. Even if your Aunt Diane still forwards you emails about how someone is hiding AIDS-laced hypodermic needles in gas pump handles, more of these stories seem to be caught these days than passed on as gospel truth.
In light of the season, I thought I’d revisit a couple of my favorite scary urban legends. In turn, I want to hear some of yours.
Killer in the Backseat
One night a woman went out for drinks with her girlfriends. She left the bar fairly late at night, got in her car and onto the deserted highway. After a few minutes she noticed a lone pair of headlights in her rear-view mirror, approaching at a pace just slightly quicker than hers. As the car pulled up behind her she glanced and saw the turn signal on – the car was going to pass – when suddenly it swerved back behind her, pulled up dangerously close to her tailgate and the brights flashed.
Now she was getting nervous. The lights dimmed for a moment and then the brights came back on and the car behind her surged forward. The frightened woman struggled to keep her eyes on the road and fought the urge to look at the car behind her. Finally, her exit approached but the car continued to follow, flashing the brights periodically.
Through every stoplight and turn, it followed her until she pulled into her driveway. She figured her only hope was to make a mad dash into the house and call the police. As she flew from the car, so did the driver of the car behind her – and he screamed, “Lock the door and call the police! Call 911!”
When the police arrived the horrible truth was finally revealed to the woman. The man in the car had been trying to save her. As he pulled up behind her and his headlights illuminated her car, he saw the silhouette of a man with a butcher knife rising up from the back seat to stab her, so he flashed his brights and the figure crouched back down. (about.com)
Babysitter in Peril
A young girl was babysitting two young children. She sent them to bed and soon started doing some homework when the phone rang. She picked it up, “Hello?” she said. There was a man on the other end, “Have you checked the children yet?” was the only thing he said before CLICK, the line went dead. About and hour later the phone rang again, it was the man. “Have you checked on the children yet?”. The girl was beginning to get scared, fifteen minutes later the phone rang. “Hello?” She answered hesitantly. “Why haven’t you checked on the children yet?!” The man demanded. The girl hung up and called the operator. The operator told her that she would trace the call the next time the man called her. Sure enough, a little while later he called again: “Go upstairs and check on the children” he said. The girl hung up and called the operator, “Get out!” the operator said, “the calls are coming from inside the house!”. The girl rushed to the door and ran outside. When the police came they found the children dead in their beds. (The Call)
The Roommate’s Death
Two college roommates were complete opposites, one liked to study while the other liked to party. In preparation for their upcoming midterms, the studious roommate (Jane) planned a Friday night of studying while the partier (Mary) decided to go to a frat party.
The two were friends, regardless of their differences, and while Mary got ready for the party, she tried to get Jane to go. Jane insisted on studying and Mary set out for the party. Jane agreed to leave the door unlocked, so that Mary wouldn’t have to bring her keys.
While Mary was at the party, she met up with another group of friends and they convinced Mary to stay at their place for the night. Mary agreed but had to stop back at her room to get her keys. It was about 2 a.m. when Mary got back. She snuck in and grabbed her keys, leaving the lights off, not wanting to wake her roommate.
The next morning Mary walked home, intent to ask Jane for some study help. When she reached her room and opened the door she saw Jane murdered at her desk! Written on the wall in Jane’s blood was “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?” (Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn on the Light?)
I could go on and on, but I probably shouldn’t. What legends are you fond of? What local ones get told in your town?