Every town is unique in its own special way. From the best go-to hang-out spots to the yummiest places to eat at, there are things that are specific to a place that only the people who live there are privy to. Included in this are the urban legends, ghost stories, and tales of horror that are passed down between generations. Whether it’s a creepy, broken down building that people claim is haunted, a certain place in the woods where people swear a ghost lives, or a curse put on the entire town from centuries ago— almost every town has some variation of an urban legend tied to it.
And while some may seem a little more far-fetched than others, all you can do is take it from the people who actually live there, such as these people who have shared the urban legends from their own countries and towns.
61. The Silent Guardian
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, or he saved a girl from being jumped one night and has since been the silent guardian of the university. 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.”
60. You Can’t Leave Home
Apparently you literally can’t get away from my town. Our urban legend is that during the Mexican American War we had a Native American chief and medicine man hostage at one of our forts, so he kinda cursed all the locals to be trapped in our town like he was. Once you leave (and we all REALLY want to, it’s boring and sometimes it sucks here) you’ll always end up back here, no matter what. I know way too many people who have experienced this first hand, being all ready to move out and then something major comes and gets in the way like finances or breakups or family issues, and then they’re trapped or they’re back in town only a few months later. It’s weird.
59. There’s Always A Cult Involved
About a half hour drive outside of town there is a small dirt road which dead ends after about 2-3 miles. At that dead end is an old, small, run-down and seemingly abandoned church. The urban legend back in my day was that a group of satanists or cultists of some sort held rituals there. For many of us it was a thrill-seeking thing. Get a group together in a friend’s car. Drive out there and then stop and hang out in front of the church for as long as your nerves could handle it. None of us never worked up the courage to get out of the car though.
58. Appease The Spirits
There is a large old house in the countryside with a fair amount of land, allegedly sometime in the 1850s a young boy and girl who lived there disappeared in the woods never to be found, months later the sounds of children crying and screaming were often heard from the woodland behind the house until their family tied some of the children’s favourite toys to the balcony railings outside of their bedroom, the screams stopped.
Until about 100 years later when another family had moved in, being sceptical of the stories removed the toys from the old balcony for renovation work, again for weeks screams and cries could be heard from the adjacent woodland. The family eventually decided to buy new toys and tie them up at the same place, you guessed it the screams were silent again.
Honestly have no idea of the validity of the stories however most locals seem to know it and the balcony outside the window still has those old toys tied to it today…
57. Lost In The Amazon
I live in Brazil, so most of my stories are from that general area. There’s this urban legend about a little boy whose feet are backwards. I think his name is the Curupira. He lives in the Amazon and is said to trap hunters by walking towards the exit. The thing is, his feet are backwards. The hunters follow the footsteps, and remain forever lost in the Amazon.
56. A Good Reason To Skip Class
There was an elementary school that got knocked down a long time ago and they built a new school in its place. Every person I asked who ever went to that school swore that it was haunted. Every. Single. Person.
It doesn’t matter if they were an 80s kid or a 90s kid or a 00s kid. Every one of them swore that it was haunted, and if you gather the stories across every person, you can figure out which part of the schools had the most activity. The back of the school, the bathrooms, and the upper level in the fourth and third-grade section.
My best friend went to that school and also told me a story that happened to her and a bunch of other kids in her class. I tracked down another person from her class and they said the same exact story. The one that always gets me is the one about the blood trail that leads you to a snake at the back of the school, whenever the kids leave to bring the teacher the blood and snake are gone.
55. Buried Face Down
There’s a legend in my town about a ‘witch’ that was hanged and buried at the base of a tree. They buried her face down, so should she wake she’ll dig herself deeper rather than out. Then they covered the grave with a layer of concrete to further prevent her from escaping. Took place in the 1870’s if I’m not wrong.
Also heard someone tried to dig her up awhile back, not sure what came of it. Records do say that apparently she died of tuberculosis instead though, and her father could have filled the grave up with concrete to prevent vandals or something. Sad either way.
54. The Dead Meadow
Where I live, in a small city in Romania called Cluj-Napoca, there is a small forest nearby, called the Baciu forest, and apparently it’s one of the most “haunted” places in Europe. Basically, there is this story about a shepherd named Ghita, who once ventured down in the forest with his 300 sheep, and not him, or the sheep were ever seen again. The trees are kinda weird there, and there is a completely round meadow, that is said to disappear every once in a while, people saying that the dance of the Iele happens there (Iele are creatures of the Romanian folklore, kinda like banshees, but scarier). I don’t believe in that stuff, but it’s funny to scare tourists who go there.
53. The Bad Barn
In the late 1800’s or early 1900’s, there was a man who murdered his sister and her children, then hung their bodies up in his barn. Apparently, when police looked into it, they found the bodies hanging with wolves(or dogs, can’t remember) eating their dangling legs. The man claimed it was his sister’s Native American husband who killed them, so the town got together and lynched the husband, then burned the barn to the ground.
People who live in that area claim you can find paw prints on the ground with no other evidence of dogs or wolves being there, and that there are voices and cold spots where the barn once stood.
52. No Other Choice
My home town was used as part of the Underground Railroad as it is located right on the river. There’s a legend that a woman was escaping slavery with her two children on a completely dark night. She had gone into the river and was close to the middle. The slave owners were close behind her with dogs. Her baby started to cry and fearing being caught, she did the only thing she could think of, which was drowning her baby.
So the legend is that on completely dark nights with no moon, if you’re by the river you can hear a baby crying for it’s mother.
51. All I Got Was This Lousy Statue
My city in Belgium has the story of “fiere Margriet.”
Long story short: It’s medieval times and Margriet is working as a servant in a inn. A band of robbers kill the family owning the inn and take her outside the city center to have their way with her. After they are done they throw her body in the local river. Instead of sinking, her body floats upstream, carried by fish and engulfed in a yellow light, back into the city center. By this miracle the robber gang gets caught. The Duke of Brabant is a witness of this miracle and you know, they build a chapel in her honor etc. Pilgrimages. There is a statue of her naked body next to the Dijle (the local river) not far from my home.
50. Not Fluffy!
Our most famous legend in Virginia is probably the Bunny Man Bridge. The legend goes that in 1904 a man was institutionalized after murdering his entire family with an ax. The man escaped, and people in the area would come across skinned rabbits, gnawed on and hung from trees near the Colchester Overpass. A search party found him, but before they could arrest him, he was killed by a passing train crossing the overpass.
The story continued in 1970 a man believed to be wearing a rabbit costume and carrying an ax attacked a couple driving through Fairfax County in the middle of the night, screaming at them as they sped away. 10 days later, a security guard in the area spotted a man in a rabbit suit attacking a post with an ax; he noticed the guard and yelled at him to get off his property or he’d chop off his head. The man was never apprehended. Now, every year after, when Halloween gets closer, locals find more skinned, suspended rabbits, and cars travelling that road report a man in a rabbit costume approaching them with an ax.
49. Ghost Town
We have a couple of ghosts in Boston, England.
The Grey Lady, supposedly if you go to the local church at night and speak her name whilst walking around the tower she will appear. Many a brave young person has tried it. Supposedly she jumped off the tower with her baby. My Mum claims she saw her once.
The Monk, or Father Michael. There’s a local theatre and arts centre that used to be part of a monastery during mediaeval times. The arts centre is built on what used to be the kitchen and dining area. The Monk supposedly haunts the backstage area and will steal any sharp knives that are left around, the story goes he murdered a fellow monk and then himself. I was part of an amateur troupe for years and never saw him, but I will say it felt really creepy backstage late at night.
Finally there is Black Shuck who is not from Boston but is a demonic dog that supposedly haunts the local area. I’ve heard quite a few stories about people seeing him.
48. An Untimely End
Grew up in Yucaipa, CA.
Locals say that a young woman wearing a piercing red dress can be seen walking down Pendleton Road. The street is uneven, filled with potholes, tall trees and darkness.
Legend says in the 1950’s, the woman was on her way to an event, totaled her vehicle and she was critically injured. With no one around, all alone and no one in sight to help, the woman dragged herself out of her vehicle and crawled to her untimely death. They say police found the woman’s body half a mile away from the totaled vehicle on Pendleton Road.
Reports of feeling uneasy, disembodied voices, being watched, and even being touched, have been claimed by numerous locals who have walked through or driven down Pendleton Road.
47. It Came On All Fours
In my town we have an urban legend about a deformed humanoid that’s always on all fours. One night I decided to go out with a friend to go to another friend’s house and we are both 100 percent sure I saw something like it. We walked near a lamppost and I turned around to see how far the gap between me and my friend is. That’s when I saw something crawling I instantly thought it was a dog so I told my friend to turn around and attract the dog. He saw it too and went over there I waited for 5 seconds and he came running out of the dark and past me. I kept looking into the dark and I saw a pale obese figure crawling toward me with extreme speed. It’s eyes were closed and it’s mouth was wide open making smothered loud breathing sounds. I ran after my friend and when we arrived at our other friends house I instantly laid down and slept, pretty creepy experience for me.
46. The House Of Sadness
You wouldn’t know about it unless you were interested in this sort of thing. But the Winchester House. Sarah Winchester, the wife of the founder of Winchester rifle company, built it. Her family died tragically and she believed it was the angry spirits of those who were killed by their guns. She built the house to keep the angry spirits from finding her. It was built like HH Holmes murder castle in a way. Trapdoors, stairs to nowhere, secret rooms, doors leading outside on upper floors. She never stopped construction until the day she died. It is over 100 years old and I believe the most recently discovered room was found in 2016. There is no floor plan to this place and it’s absolutely massive. And you can visit it.
45. The White Thing
The White Thing is a Bigfoot like creature who allegedly lives around my area. I have known 6 people personally who have seen it (every one of them being totally level headed people) and there are dozens of others who have shared their experiences online. The descriptions I have heard of it were “malnourished looking legs, pale grey skin falling off like rags, horns like Pan from Pan’s Labyrinth, glowing, giant (was able to simply step over my friend’s fence), winged (one of my friends claimed it flew over her car late one night), and that it was able to walk effortlessly across the treetops and/or power lines.
44. Watch Out For The Machete Man
My mother comes from a tiny village in the northern Portuguese mountains. Literally nobody outside the village would know this story.
About fifty or so years ago, an elderly brother and sister were having some disagreements over a piece of land that they owned. I believe the sister wanted to sell the land, as they didn’t really use it, but the brother was adamant on keeping it.
One day, the brother killed his sister with a machete. After he killed her, he went to where my grandfather was working out in the fields. My grandfather was considered the de facto leader of the village. Anyway, the brother approached him and confessed: “I have killed my sister.”
My grandfather went back with him to the house and stayed with him until the police arrived. Not sure what happened after that, though I imagine the brother served jail time and possibly died there.
So yeah, machete murder in a tiny, otherwise peaceful Portuguese village.
43. Emily’s Bridge
Vermont has Emily’s Bridge.
Emily was planning to run away with her boyfriend. They decided to meet at the Gold Creek Bridge, near Stowe, VT. He never showed up, so she jumped off the bridge. People say if you drive across the bridge at night you’ll hear some weird noises, or see things, or you’ll find some new scratches on your car.
42. Cursed Beast
I grew up with lots of em. New Orleans is a great place to live for people who love the supernatural. I have spent several nights at the Myrtle Plantation as a child and my mom’s family plot is just 3 rows up from Marie Laveau’s grave. I have seen some off-putting stuff. The slave quarters off LA 308 in Lafourche gave me a run for my money in my first year of college at Nicholls. Ring the bell, see the lights. But the worst is the Rougarou.
One night, my buddy and I are out in Paradis doing some frogging. We had had been partying, but lost the feeling. The boat had killed and we needed to trawl motor to shore before walking a mile in the dark of the swamp down the gravel road to the generator run trailer by the launch affectionately called “camp”. Now, we have 2 sacks of frogs, seen gators and snakes. We stunk of marsh and BO. Digging up that swamp mud, well it’s a different kind of stink. Earth mixed with a septic methane type foul. But as my buddy and I were walking down the road, we got a new smell over the cigarettes we had, over the frog poop, over the sleeveless shirt bayou sweat. It was all rancid. Horrible, reeking, foul deathly odor. It stank of rotting leaves and flesh mixed. Like a bag of old leaves with that beef stew you forgot about in the back of your fridge. It wasn’t unnatural, but seemed to be of the place, an embodiment of the area. But then there was a deep drop in the pit of my stomach. My buddy had the same feeling. We put our joes out on the road and booked it as best we can for the camp. We heard rustling just past the tree line all the way back to the camp. Once we got back and into the truck we hit the high beams. Nothing. Not. A. Dang. Thing. Once we got back to the boat, we pulled the spot light off and put it to the woods. About a yard back, saplings and brush were all knocked about. Not torn up, but displaced, rustled. All the way back to the camp, which had a dust cloud knocked up and settling as we got there. The camp window netting was town open and glass broken in. The window was about 7 foot off the ground, about a foot over me. There were claw marks on the ground. We were told it was a cougar with mange. But this was no cat. A big cat woulda attacked the moment we ran. We were both outta shape and slow. No. This was something bigger, meaner, and smarter. That was the last time we went to that particular camp of his family.
41. The Mysterious And Vanishing Light
I live in Newcastle, Australia, and about 20-25 mins north is a place called Lemontree Passage. There’s a stretch of highway that is believed to be haunted and the “entity” materializes as a light that appears behind your car (visible in the rear view mirror) and follows you for a stretch, then completely vanishes once the light reaches a particular part of the road (it’s always exactly the same, the light reaches the spot where a street lamp stands and then vanishes). Video footage of it is available on YouTube from several sources, such as here.
There are apparently particular conditions that need to be met for it to occur, such as: driving fast enough, being on the precise stretch of road and heading in the right direction, it being dark enough, etc. Some people have tried to state it is regular car/motorcycle headlights and think they have proven this, and other people have filmed the light disappearing and then waited, and no vehicle drove past. So in my opinion, it is still unexplained (and I don’t really believe in paranormal things at all). The legend is that the “ghost” is a young motorcycle rider who died while speeding on this stretch of road, and is trying to warn people not to speed. Can find a lot more info about it online if you’re curious to read more.
40. The Lost Silver Mine
My old hometown of Stanton, Kentucky, has one called “John Swift’s Silver Mine”.
Supposedly, a man named John Swift came from England during the 1800’s sometime, and found large veins of silver in the mountains of Stanton and proceeded to open one of the biggest silver mines in the North. He went back to England to take care of his sick mother and closed the mine. While over there, he contracted a severe fever and went 100% blind in both eyes. He came back to Stanton to find his Silver Mine and could not locate it again due to his illness. He died sometime in the late 1800’s. There is supposed to be well over a million dollars worth of Silver in this “Lost Mine”
39. The Deadly Charleston Inn
I live in Charleston and we have the legend of Lavinia Fisher. She was the first woman hanged in the United Stated for Highway robbery but the legend is even more interesting. Lavinia was allegedly incredibly beautiful and she and her husband used to run the Six-Mile Inn just outside of Charleston where traders would pass through. They would come into the inn and she would give them Oleander (poisoned) tea and send them to bed. When they fell asleep and subsequently died, she would pull a lever and the floor would drop down and her husband would be waiting in the basement with an axe to finish them. Then they would steal everything the traders had.
They got away with it for years until one night when a trader named John Peeples stopped by but he didn’t like tea and only took it to be polite. When he noticed the floor dropping out and could see John Fisher with an axe, he ran out of the house and booked it on his horse to Charleston. John and Lavinia were arrested and found guilty of highway robbery. Until that point, the law was that you could not hang a married woman so they hanged John first and Lavinia wandered through the crowd in her wedding dress looking for someone to marry her and save her from death. No one stepped up, and her last words were “if you have a message for the devil, give it to me and I’ll take it there myself”. They hung her in Washington square and she is supposed to haunt the old Charleston Jail.
38. This Way To Goat Man’s
Let me tell you about Goatman’s Bridge in Denton, TX. One of the first black businessmen in Denton had his own goat farm. He was well-liked until he put up signs on the Alton Bridge saying “This way to Goat Man’s.” This angered the local klansmen, and they hung him from the bridge.
“One night in August 1938, with their headlights off, Klansmen crossed the bridge, dragged the Goat man from his family, and hung him over the side. Peering over into the water, the men saw a rope, but not his body. In a panic, the Klansman returned to the Washburn residence, and murdered his family in cold blood.”
The legend is that if you drive up to the bridge, turn your headlights off, and chant “GOATMAN” three times, then turn your headlights back on, the Goat Man will be there, waiting for you.
A lot of people went missing during the 60’s but their cars were always found idling in front of the Alton Bridge, now known as Goatman’s bridge. They even built a new bridge downstream to cut down on all of the missing people, but Goatman’s Bridge is still accessible today.
37. Alone In The Library Attic
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. Later on, 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.
36. Satanic Cult After Chickens
The chupacabras, which is Spanish for “goat sucker”.
Weirdly enough, most chupacabra legends involve farmers finding their chickens dead and drained of blood, without any visible wound. Why it is not called chupagallina is beyond me…
But anyway, growing up Catholic, my parents used to tell me that the chupacabra isn’t real. It was just a satanic cult using chickens for their rituals. Yeah… thanks Mom, that’s way less terrifying.
35. The Collapse
I used to be a Boy Scout. The creepy thing about this story was that it’s actually true. At a camp I used to go to a few years ago, one of our senior patrol leaders told most of the troop that back in the 70’s, there were these two guys who were on snowmobiles and they were riding on some of the trails. They had to go to the bathroom and they went to the small shed that had a few toilets in it. But with the amount of snow that had fallen, it collapsed and the two guys died. Their bodies where found when the snow melted in the spring and legend has it, in the winter time at the camp when nobody is their, you can see their ghosts roaming the area. I asked some of the older staff there and two guys actually did die like 40 years ago in the camps old bathroom.
34. The Town of Monkey Hangers
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.
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.
33. Devil Deciding Fate In A Forest
St. Leonard’s Forest, near Horsham, West Sussex in the UK has lots of stories surrounding it. My favorite is about the ‘Mick Miles Race’ the story goes a local man called Mick Miles was challenged by the Devil to race for his soul in St. Leonard’s Forest. The pair raced so fast they burnt a track through the forest where, to this day, no trees grow. You can visit the spot, it’s a popular walking route and a neat story for the area. Some people also claim to have seen a headless horseman at night on this forest stretch!
32. Church Robber Struck By Lightning
I am from Lower Bavaria, Germany and there is this city Zulling, which also has a church. Next to the church there are two spots in the grass, where nothing grows. People claim that back in the days, some guy robbed the church and killed the pastor. He fled through the window and the moment he touched the ground outside the church, he got struck by a lightning and died. Since this day, nothing grows where he touched the ground. This spot is called Teufelstritt (literally devil’s step).
31. Farmer Fred Fisher And The Ghost
Campbelltown, NSW. There is a ghost story where four months after the mysterious disappearance of a local farmer, Fred Fisher, in 1826 a strange occurrence took place in a local hotel. A wealthy and respectable farmer, John Farley claimed he had seen the ghost of Fred Fisher sitting on the rail of a bridge over a creek. The ghost pointed to a paddock down the creek then faded away. The body of Fred Fisher was later discovered in the paddock where the ghost had pointed.
Now every year there is a festival on the paddock where the body was found. But the only people that go are 12-year-olds that think they’re cool (I use to be one of them).
30. Dancing Alone In The Ballroom
Resurrection Mary. A few decades ago, a girl got picked up from a ballroom near a cemetery after a ball and was murdered. Since then there have been reports of her dancing with patrons at the ballroom and walking around the cemetery. She also appears in people’s cars that don’t pick her up when she hitchhikes by the cemetery. There’s a story of her getting picked up and she directed the man to the main entrance of the cemetery. The main gate has bars that been pulled apart by what looks like human hands because they left hand prints. The cemetery replaces them but they keep coming back to their spread unpainted state.
29. The Dempsey House Decoration
New Jersey. There’s a house called the Dempsey house which got its name due to the family that used to live there. Guy killed his family in the bathroom then himself in the front yard. Legend says that he hung there for a week, (around Halloween so people thought it was a decoration) before someone realized it was a real person.
28. The Witches Grave
Our town graveyard has what is called the “Witches Grave”. Complete with corner posts, connecting chains, and a plaque stating her name, DOB-DOD (late 1800 something) and that she was declared a witch. Legend has it that if you spit, step, anything on her grave she’ll come back and kill you.
But really though, next to hers is her daughter’s smaller grave. She really just lost it after her daughter died and they thought she was a witch and just locked her up.
27. The Mysterious Zoo Parking Attendant
At the city zoo, a parking attendant dutifully tended the car parks taking fees and wishing people well.
After 35 years, one day he didn’t turn up for work and so the zoo called the local council to ask for a stand-in. The council said they had never provided a parking attendant and he must be a zoo employee.
The zoo had never employed a parking attendant either. This guy, who no one seemed to know by name, had been collecting parking charges for 35 years unquestioned.
It is estimated he made in the region of £2,000,000 over the years and decided to retire. Probably somewhere much nicer than Bristol.
26. Blue-faced Black Agnes
Good old Black Annis!
Black Annis, also known as Black Agnes, is a bogeyman figure in English folklore. She is imagined as a blue-faced crone or witch with iron claws and a taste for humans (especially children). She is said to haunt the countryside of Leicestershire, living in a cave in the Dane Hills, with an oak tree at its entrance.
She supposedly goes out onto the glens at night looking for unsuspecting children and lambs to eat, then tanning their skins by hanging them on a tree, before wearing them around her waist. She would reach inside houses to snatch people. Legend has it that she used her iron claws to dig into the side of a sandstone cliff, making herself a home there which is known as Black Annis’s Bower. The legend led to parents warning their children that Black Annis would catch them if they did not behave.
25. Jack, The Baseball Coach Bandit
Where I grew up in the corn belt/rust belt, there was a local thief named Jack who was a living legend. Jack had a speech impediment that made him sound incredibly stupid and possibly inebriated, but stories abounded of his smooth talking heists. Everybody knew of his robberies but the stories were all about him putting one over on some business, so he was actually seen as somewhat untrustworthy but also somewhat of a Robin Hood figure. I think Jack stories became kind of a local genre of tall tales for a while, the kind of lies crafted over a beverage.
This guy had done time at least once but he was still trusted to coach my little league team. He would show up to games with cases of Gatorade in his trunk, sometimes even brand new baseball gloves, and the parents would all just have that “Oh, Jack!” reaction. I never witnessed him stealing anything but the guy was a great baseball coach, I played under him for four years and won three league trophies.
His legend kind of soured, though, when he finally stole the league registration fees from a team’s parents. That was the end of his coaching, and really I don’t remember any good stories from after that period either.
Mind you, this was the 90’s.
24. The Student Serial Killer
Ames, IA. Serial killer that preys on inebriated college students. A college student dies and a small smiley face is found at the scene of the crime. He makes it look like an accident. One happened while I was attending ISU. A guy disappeared, they found his wallet and his phone on the sidewalk. He was found later in the pond. They think he passed out and fell into the pond or something, but a smiley face was found on a lamppost where his wallet and cell phone were found.
23. The Tale Of The Train Tracks
San Antonio, TX. A school bus stalled on Southton Rd. railroad tracks and not all of the children escaped before a train that couldn’t stop in time and hit the bus and killed all ten children and the bus driver. Now if you stop on the tracks and put your car in neutral facing west it will begin to roll forward across the tracks. If you put some type of powder on the back of your car you can see small childlike handprints on the trunk and bumper as if your car was being pushed. The weirdest part is that your car rolls uphill.
22. The Dropped Coffin
I went to college in St. Augustine, Florida. Our college was a really cool building— it’s a former hotel built by Henry Flagler, some really amazing stained glass and architecture (and one of the first buildings in the US with electricity, installed personally by Thomas Edison) but it also has a lot of fun history.
St. Augustine as a whole is thought to be one of the most haunted cities in the world, and the college obviously gets part of that.
Mr. Flagler’s viewing was held in the lobby of the hotel after he died, and when they were carrying his coffin out into the courtyard, they dropped it. The corner hit a particular small tile in the floor mosaic, and his ghost has haunted that tile ever since, leaving a permanent impression of his agonized face. Some students leave candles and other offerings around it during finals week, others insist that the lobby is colder if you stand over by it. Tile here!
21. The Headless Horseman
I grew up in Prestbury, near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, supposedly the most haunted village in the UK. One of the many tales is of the Headless Horseman. He was a Cavalier rider who was on his way from Sudeley Castle to Gloucester during the civil war and was beheaded by a thin wire tied across the road by Roundheads. Another version is that he was knocked off the horse and subsequently executed by beheading after interrogation. The legend is that on certain nights you can hear—but never see—a horse galloping and the scream of a man (or horse) as they hit the wire. I’ve never heard it but I know people who claim to.
20. The South Bend Shovel Slayer
I live in a suburb of Chicago, and there is an old man in my neighborhood that always salts and shovels the sidewalks by himself. We call him “the South Bend Shovel Slayer”, and he is said to have murdered his family and half of the people on the block with a snow shovel back in 1958. He was also said to have kept his victims in his garbage can full of salt, and that the salt turned the bodies into mummies.
He seems like a nice guy to me, I guess… but you never know.
19. A Church In The Road
There is a road in the middle of the woods that is now guarded by security cameras. When I was younger, people would ride down it before the installation of the cameras. It is said that you pass over three bridges on this road and then arrive at a church. The church is said to be haunted, and your return journey can leave you in a loop, where you ride over seven bridges on the way back: Seven bridges road.
I’ve always wanted to go down it because instead of being haunted, I think it’s where the aliens are.
18. Ireland’s Blarney Stone
Here in Ireland, there are ruined castles scattered all over the place. In the walls of one of them, near a small rural town called Blarney, there’s a stone which is supposed magically make you an eloquent speaker (i.e. the ‘gift of the gab’) if you kiss it. It’s not easy to get to. You have to climb to the top of the castle, and then lie on your back with your head hanging over a sheer drop. I kid you not, millions (literally) of tourists have undergone this farcical ritual. Apart from the hygiene issues, how can any sane person believe that a lump of rock could possess this ability? Needless to say, I’m not one of the locals who is profiting from this paddywhackery.
17. Hanged Woman Haunting Bridge
Hampton Roads, Virginia. There’s a fairly famous bridge out in Yorktown on Crawford road. You would expect the most famous story to be about hauntings at Ford Monroe, or the ghosts of colonists at Jamestown, but no, you get some bridge that isn’t even that old.
Anyways, Crawford bridge. You hear all sorts of stories about car crashes. but the most popular story is that a woman hung herself on that bridge and still haunts it to this day.
I went to a lot of abandoned areas in college, most noteworthy being Glenn Dale Hospital, Maryland, but I had never encountered anything quite like Crawford bridge. I won’t talk about an “unsettling feeling” or any of that. My car just flat out died. It wasn’t even a lemon or anything, a 2007 Nissan Murano. After messing around with it for about two minutes, I was able to get the power on. Then the radio started up (on its own) and began changing stations and volume (on its own).
It was probably some sort of interference, but it makes for a good ghost story I guess. Better than a “ghostly figure in the window” like at the hospital I mentioned.
16. The Ghost Of The Buttermilk Girl
The Ghost of the Buttermilk Girl. I live in a medieval city in Belgium. There’s a specific street corner just next to a bridge over one of the city’s many streams. According to legend, every night around midnight, you can encounter the ghost of a young girl at this street corner. The legend says that on that corner there used to be a milk/cheese shop. The girl used to work for that shop, but one night some passengers-by caught the girl at the nearby stream adding water to buckets of milk, you know, to cheat customers. The girl noticed that she had been seen, and in a moment of distress, or maybe shame and fear of punishment, she threw herself into the stream and drowned. However, her ghost never found rest and is said to still haunt that street corner. If you meet her, she only says one thing: “Buttermilk….buttermilk….”
15. A Wolf After Kids And Catholics
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.
14. Trapped by Fairies
I grew up in a small rural village in Ireland (still in Ireland, just in the city now). There are some woods up the hill across from my parents’ house that has a fairy ring it. Our elderly neighbor, 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.
13. The Boy Who Got Lost At The Creek
Supposedly in the 1800s, a young boy was separated from his family’s caravan as they tried to escape the flooding creek. The boy stayed in the woods along the creek and became a hermit who would scare off any travelers who entered his domain. Eventually, he got himself trampled by horses, and now the ghost of the Hairy Man haunts the area that Hairy Man Road now runs through.
12. A Mysterious Dollar General
New Boston, Michigan. A very small country town of no more than a few thousand people. One stoplight, two bars, two churches, you get the idea. A burger joint and gas station is the closest thing to “civilization” there is. One day a Dollar General mysteriously appeared in what is essentially the middle of nowhere, many still don’t believe that it is there. Legend tells that it has always been there, and one must have been a witness to some horrible incident in order to be able to see the Dollar General (much like the Thestrals in Harry Potter) let alone actually go INSIDE. It’s not a great story, but for us, it works.
11. Greyfriars’ Graveyard Guarddog
Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh. The story goes that a dog refused to abandon its master when he died and was buried in Greyfriars. He lay by his graveside, and always returned after being chased out by groundsmen. Eventually, the city council voted to buy the dog its own license, so it would have the freedom to stay by its master until he died. A bronze statue of the dog was put up outside the cemetery, and if you rub its nose, you’ll have good luck.
In reality, the dog lay outside the graveyard, not by the grave, probably because it was fed by the priest. The statue was never meant to be rubbed on the nose. Tourists keep doing it, so it has to be touched up, to prevent damage. The council has now decided to stop refixing it, so now we wait for the slow erosion of that dog statue’s face.
10. A Death Bridge For Dogs
There’s an 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 was even a man who threw his baby son off the bridge in a fit of insanity after claiming his son was the Antichrist.
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.
9. The Dead Soldier’s 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 a deer.
8. The Dahu
In Switzerland we have the “Dahu”.
Our country is very mountainous, so it should be no surprise that there is an animal that evolved to be more comfortable on high slopes. Indeed, the Dahu has shorter legs on one side than the other, which allows it to walk along slopes with ease (as opposed to humans, for example).
Hunting a dahu requires some careful thinking due to how well adapted they are to mountainous terrain, but it gets easier if you sneak behind one and whistle.
7. Abandoned Village
In Kentucky’s bluegrass region it is very hilly. This means that when fog develops, it pools into the areas between the hills and sort of “flows” along like a river. On one of the roads linking Fayette and Jessamine county, there is a bit of a valley where some houses can be found. Oft times there are reports of pale people in grey-white rags wandering in the mist whenever it forms there. I personally have not encountered it, but I have had several friends see it. Any time people have tried to investigate or talk to them, they seem to disappear into the fog.
It very well could just be locals wanting to have fun with the drivers, but it has become a peculiar story around here. It is said that many Cherokee and their horses were murdered in that area. In fact, a tobacco barn near there randomly burned down, and the photos of the incident showed that the flames bellowing into the sky were shaped like horses. Interesting stuff.
6. The Devil Pond
My buddy and I heard about this park in Harbor City with a duck pond. Supposedly the Devil appears there and people can sell their souls to him. He appears to be a normal person, but is very well mannered and well dressed. Supposedly a rap singer sold is soul at the park and became famous
Well I called BS, and we went down there. As we got to the park, it was pitch black, with no lamps or lights, and the duck pond was kind of deep into the park as well. The whole time we’re walking on the sidewalk looking for the shortest way to the pond, my buddy starts whining and complaining about how bad of an idea this is and how he doesn’t want to go through with it. I just ignored him and kept looking. I’ll admit the setting was very eerie too, I was actually more afraid of getting stabbed or shot than meeting the Devil.
So we’re walking along the sidewalk and all of a sudden, everything gets a little too quiet. I turn around to see that there are no cars going down the street behind me, I just took it as a coincidence and started to walk towards the park, mind you the whole time my buddy is still bitching about how scary it is and stuff. We walk to the end and see nothing, no entrance and this pond is huge! I finally get tired of hearing my friend talk about how scary the park is and how many gangs and homeless people are in there and said,
“Okay, screw it, let’s go back to the car.”
We’re still pretty close to the park and we start walking the opposite way, back to the car. The whole time, I’m looking into the dark park, still trying to find the entrance. Then all of a sudden my friend stops and looks at me and asks, “Did you really wanna go in there?” I said yes, and that I still would. He then goes, “Okay, what the heck! Let’s go.” We start walking to the park and all of a sudden I feel this insane nervous feeling take over my body, and this heavy pressure in my chest. I ignored it and just took it as nerves and kept walking. My friend starts complaining about the same thing happening to him. I’m stilling convinced it’s nerves.
Then all of a sudden we hear these ducks just start to go off in the pond, it was like they were scared or wounded or something. Very odd for ducks, like no other quack I’ve ever heard! I looked once again, into the park and there was this winding path that leads to the pond, and as I’m focusing my eyes on it, we see all of these rats running away from the pond down the path. I turn to my friend and we both have this “What the heck” look on our faces, as I’m still facing him, we see about 3 or 4 skunks start hightailing it for the street and a couple of opossums jump out of a tree next to us and run towards the direction of our car. Then, next, these birds just started chirping up a storm in the trees all around us.
It felt so surreal. I just froze in place and was trying to take in what was happening. The next thing that I saw though, was the deal breaker. I turned back towards the pond and focused more on where the path ended. I saw an archway and a bench. As I strained my eyes, I saw the ember of a cigarette, move up and down, as if it was moving away from someone’s mouth. My eyes followed the ember and I tried to focus on where it was coming from and trying to see if my eyes were playing tricks on me. I then saw a puff of smoke fill the air as the holder of the cigarette’s head cocked back. I then followed the head and scanned the bench and laid my eyes upon the outline of a man’s body.
My heart started beating so fast, and I felt my adrenaline start to kick in. This sick, bleak feeling started to grow in my stomach, I was fighting every sense and warning that my body was throwing at me to not go in there. I can’t even describe the feeling all together, it just felt like if I were to go in there, I wasn’t coming out. A part of me still wanted to approach this man and see what was going on. Was it him that was causing the whole freakin’ animal kingdom to go off or did we just startle them? I felt my body enter that “fight or flight” mode and went with my conscience, which was telling me to just walk away.
I then turn to my friend and say, “There’s someone there, Devil or not, the guy may be armed or something, I’m really not sure that I want to risk it.” He agrees and we turn back and head to the car, and as we started to walk away, the park calmed and was once again silent.
I’ll never really know if that figure in the park was something of the supernatural kind or not, but I’m also not to sure that I want to find out. I could have been anyone. lol, I think I can live with never ever knowing for sure. What I saw was enough. Take it for what it is!
5. The Curse of Billy Penn
Philadelphia once had a gentlemen’s agreement that no buildings could be taller than the brim of the hat worn by the statue of William Penn on top of City Hall.
After that gentlemen’s agreement was repealed and skyscrapers built, our sports teams stopped winning championships. This came to be known as the Curse of Billy Penn.
In 2008, the Comcast Center (then our tallest building) was completed. Comcast, being a local (and also evil, but that’s another story) company, decided to put a small statue of William Penn atop their new skyscraper in hopes of breaking the curse and also getting some amused publicity.
Less than six months later, the Phillies became the first Philadelphia team since the construction of those skyscrapers to win a championship.
4. Strangling Ghost
My uncle was driving down a rural road in Maharashtra, which is a state in India. He was making a trip to this small piece of land that he owned for agricultural purposes, which was about 15 miles away from any form of civilization. As he was making the trip back to his hometown, he drove past this tiny shack, in the middle of nowhere. A few miles from that shack he looks in his rear mirror, and sees an old woman in a white sari in his back seat. There is blood running down the side of her face. At this point, my uncle is incredibly spooked. The lady reaches into the front seat and apparently tries to strangle him. He pulls over and gets out of his car, and there was no sign over her ever being in the backseat. When he finally reached home about an hour later, he had a fever of 107, and was in critical condition. After he came out of the ice bath, rested and woke up the next day, they found bruises on his neck.
Apparently, the shack had been home to a serial killer, who abducted women from the nearby village and killed them in there. The old woman in the car had been killed a few years ago.
3. The Gated Cult
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.
2. The Drowning Pond
This is a story I heard when I was a child from my grandmother about her relatives who lived in rural China a long time ago. I have never shared this with anyone and almost forgot it until now. So this feels like an appropriate place to start.
Back then, during Chairman Mao’s Era, everyone was very poor and every resource was scarce. In China, like a lot of Asian societies, the oldest child are held at higher responsibilities and expected to look after their younger siblings. This one family always had fights where the older daughter felt that she was being unfairly treated; whatever little possessions they had would always be given to the younger daughter. After the fight she would run away from home and cry beside a pond. This pond is know to be the place where several people drowned themselves in and rumoured to be haunted. Her parents dismissed this as just her wanting attention.
One night the fight got really bad, the reason being her parent gave her clothing to her younger sister to wear without even telling her first. That night she ran out and never came back. In the morning her body was later found in the pond. The cloth she was wearing was folded neatly and placed beside the pond. She cherished the little amount of clothing she had and couldn’t bear to have them dirtied.
There is this old Chinese folklore of “Shui Gui” (water ghosts) and “Ti Shen” (replacement body). It’s the idea that people who drowned become lingering spirits who lure others to drown as well. These spirits are not necessarily evil themselves (at least not from the way I see it -I have an ancient myth of a very virtuous water ghost for anyone that is interested). They’re just pitiful souls that cannot move on without condemning another soul to take their place. They are denied entry to the afterlife, thus unable to reincarnate, and doomed to be trapped in the pond for all of eternity unless they can find a “Ti Shen” to replace them.
On the night that the daughter drowned a passing by neighbour had heard her weeping near the pond and hysterically talking to herself. To this day my grandmother believed that her relative did not really want to drown herself; that she was possessed and pushed into it by the spirit of the previous soul that drowned.
The daughter was the last one to drown in that pond. Shortly afterwards the pond was filled up to provide land for development. The most chilling part for me in this whole thing was when my grandmother wiped her tears away and recanted, “Pitiful, so very pitiful. She did not even have a chance to find her own Ti Shen”.
1. Gnome You Don’t
When I was a child I lived with my family in a small town in Thuringia, Germany. And there are some really old legends about gnomes. These are mostly nice stories where these little “men” come one night in a month to help the people doing their work. They made dozens of shoes and baked hundreds of breads in just a few hours. There was some pact that was made hundreds of years ago: The gnomes do that but without being seen – and they are free to take a share of the food they made. And if the people hear the gnomes work, they had to stay in bed. For a long time the people were fine with that.
But at one day the major of a small village got greedy. He wanted know how the gnomes did what they do. So he build a trap in a bakery, waited until the night when and captured one of them. He confronted the other gnomes and told them he would only release the captured gnome if they tell him his secret. And they did …
… the next day the major was found in his house. It was filled up with breads and cakes he made. Hundreds of brand new shoes, shirts and trousers were laying around … and blood everywhere. The major’s hands, arms and legs were broken, burned and cut open. His clothes were hanging from his body in slit up pieces. When some of the people tried to speak to him he was just laughing like a mad man and told them “I was working so hard … so hard …”
The gnomes never showed up again.
From time to time there are reports of people who saw gnomes in caves or the forests of Thuringia.