Urban legends have scared and fascinated people all over the world. Some are well known, like the killer with a hook for a hand and the “humans can lick too” freak. But there are many more being told around the campfire that you’ve probably never heard of. These 10 tales are the products of overactive imaginations, or so we hope…
10. Boy Scout Lane
Boy Scout Lane in Wisconsin was named after an alleged tragic event that took place many years ago. According to the local story, a group of eager Boy Scouts set off on a camping trip in a forest, but were never seen or heard from again. The most popular legend is that the bus driver that drove the boys to their camping site went mad and killed the children. Another version says that the leader of the Boy Scouts lost his mind and murdered his friends in the forest. Others say that one of the boys dropped his lantern, causing a fire in which they all died, while yet another version sees two of the Scouts escaping from the horrors that befell them only to get lost trying to find their way out of the forest and starving.
One thing that doesn’t change is the fact that the boys never came home and their bodies have never been discovered. People who have been to Boy Scout Lane have reportedly heard footsteps and rustling of leaves as though someone was shuffling through them. Others fled the street after feeling several eyes “burning into” them. Some have even stated that they saw flickering lights inside the forest. The belief is that the boys’ spirits are trapped in the woods, eternally doomed to look for a way out but never succeed.
9. Skinned Tom
According to this popular Tennessee legend, there once lived a man named Tom who was handsome and popular. After many flings with the ladies he eventually met a special girl in the neighboring town. Not knowing she was married, Tom started dating her.
At some point the girl’s husband realized his doting wife was cheating on him. Enraged, he formulated a plan of revenge. He calmly told his wife that he had to go on a business trip and would be away for the entire weekend. He then skulked into the woods close to their home and waited. It wasn’t long before Tom showed up to take the girl out.
The husband followed and watched from a distance as Tom and his wife made out in his car. When he couldn’t take it anymore he stabbed his wife in the stomach and dragged Tom out of the vehicle. Tom pleaded for his life, screaming that he didn’t know the girl was married. The husband didn’t want to hear it and proceeded to skin Tom. Leaving both Tom and his unfaithful wife for dead, the husband drove back to town and gave himself over to the police. Officers rushed to the scene to find the girl alive and Tom missing.
It’s said that Skinned Tom still hangs around Lovers’ Lane, appearing to couples who park there. He’s described as a skeleton dripping with blood and dressed in 1920s clothing. He carries the knife used on him, just waiting to dish out a lesson about adultery.
8. Pigman Road
Holland Road in Angola, New York is an ordinary road that’s the backdrop for two scary urban legends. Jesse Hell and his best friend Paco decided to take a drive down this road after hearing about a tragic train accident from December 1867. As a passenger train neared a bridge a rear axle somehow became loose, causing the attached car to break free and roll down an embankment. Only one person died initially, but two coal stoves on board broke open. They set fire to the train car and fifty passengers burned to death.
Hell and his friend saw a train traveling over an old bridge. Before their eyes the train came to an improbably sudden halt. Eager to take a picture Hell turned his vehicle around, only to see the train speeding away. Hell believes that the ghosts of those who perished on the road are now haunting the place, and if that wasn’t enough there’s also a legend about a killer who lived on the road. The man wore a pig mask, creating the nickname Pigman Road.
Pigman allegedly lived there about sixty years ago. Possibly a butcher, Pigman would chop off pig’s heads and place them on stakes around his home. He placed three pig heads right by his door to make sure everyone stayed away. Three young boys were not deterred, and decided to pay Pigman a visit and see what he was up to. You know, for fun. The night of course ended with three human heads on stakes, and Pigman was never seen from again.
Mike Saad from Lancaster decided he just had to go visit the scary site. He took a female friend with him and puffed up his chest as they approached the bridge. He became less confident when he saw “Pigman raped me here” spray painted across it. Determined to not chicken out, they got out of the car. But when the sounds of squealing pigs echoed though the darkness they jumped back in the car and fled, never to return to Pigman Road.
7. Teke Teke
A shy girl became the target of mean pranks at a Japanese school. People thought it was hilarious to scare the girl and see her almost jump out of her skin. But one day their pranks went too far. She was waiting for a train when a kid put a cicada on her shoulder. She became so terrified that she lost her footing and fell onto the rail track, where she was cut in half by the incoming train.
Now tales are told of the girl’s spirit hanging around Japanese train stations, just waiting to take revenge. She moves her half-body forward by pushing on her elbows and cuts her victims in half with a scythe. The name Teke Teke comes from the noise her dragging body makes on the ground.
This legend also includes the story of a boy that encountered Teke Teke at his school. The boy wondered why a beautiful girl was just standing in the window, especially since she was inside a boys-only building. Then the girl heaved herself out of the window, revealing that she had no legs. The boy froze in fear and became her latest victim.
A different version states that a young girl named Kashimo Reiko also lost her lower limbs when a train hit her. Reiko appears to unwitting victims in toilet stalls and asks them where her legs are. If they can’t answer or give the wrong answer, she rips their legs off.
6. The Crying Boy Painting
A strange article appeared in The Sun, an English newspaper, in 1985. The article detailed the story of Ron and May Hall’s burnt-down home. The couple told the paper that they believed a cursed painting in their house was to blame. They had been living in the house for twenty-seven years when the fire started in their kitchen and quickly spread. The room where the painting hung was badly damaged, yet the painting was untouched. A firefighter at the time claimed to have been called out to numerous emergencies in homes where he saw the same painting. In all of these cases the painting was undamaged. The article also claimed that more than fifty thousand of these “Crying Boy” paintings had been sold in Britain alone and were hanging in living rooms across the country.
Later that year The Sun ran another article on the painting, claiming that many readers had fallen victim to the curse. One reader claimed that her house was destroyed by fire just six months after she purchased a copy of the painting. All her other paintings were destroyed, but the cursed painting was as good as new. Another reader tried to burn her print, but it wouldn’t catch fire. Both are convinced the paintings are cursed. There were even reports of an Italian restaurant that burned to the ground, leaving behind only an unscathed Crying Boy painting.
This urban legend is still making the rounds, and some attribute the painting to painter Giovanni Bragolin. Supposedly he went on television and admitted to making a deal with the devil to sell his painting. Apparently he has now seen the error of his ways and is trying to convince people to throw their copies away.
5. Woman in Grey
This urban legend is thought to have started in one of the mid-western states. Two young men were working in a small shop and were quite bored. They looked up when someone entered, glad to have something to do. A small woman in a grey dress walked towards the dairy products without acknowledging them. She took a bottle of milk and walked straight out of the store. The surprised workers rushed after her, but she was nowhere to be found.
The woman soon came to the store again. The men watched as she once again took a bottle of milk and left without paying. Again they tried to follow her, but couldn’t find her. When it happened again in a couple of weeks the men were ready and managed to follow her through the main street of the little town. She walked so fast they had to run to keep up. However, as soon as she turned onto a dirt road, they lost her. The pair walked a little further and came across a cemetery they’d never seen before.
They heard a noise and realized it was coming from an infant. They followed the sound to a gravestone that indicated a mother and child were buried together. They found shovels, dug up the coffin and hesitantly opened the lid. Inside was the corpse of the woman in grey, and in her arms was a crying baby. Alongside them were three empty milk bottles.
4. The Witch of Hex River
On a farm in South Africa in 1768 a beautiful girl and her family lived in the shadow of the Hex River Mountains. The young Eliza Meiring had no shortage of suitors and, in what was either arrogance or an attempt to scare them off, Eliza asked each of her admirers to bring her an orchid from the highest peak of the mountains.
Unfortunately for Eliza, the one man she really took a liking to set out to bring her the orchid in the hopes that it would secure her hand. The unlucky young man slipped and fell from the mountain and was killed. The news drove Eliza insane and she had to be locked away inside the house. One evening she managed to get a window open, but slipped in her struggle to climb down the side of the house and also fell to her death.
It’s said that Eliza’s spirit wanders the peaks of the mountains, mourning over the young man she loved. She’s referred to as the Witch of Hex River, and it’s also believed that the date 1768 and her initials are carved into a windowsill at the farmhouse.
3. Jan Van Hunks
Another South African legend tells the tale of how Devil’s Peak on Table Mountain in Cape Town allegedly got its name. The story is related to the thick clouds that cover the mountaintop and the strong winds that blow through them. A very long time ago, a pirate from Holland decided to settle in Cape Town. Jan Van Hunks had seen all there was to see on the water and wanted to retire right at the bottom of Table Mountain.
One of his favorite pastimes was climbing up the mountain to look out over the beautiful ocean below and smoke his pipe. He did this many times over the years. One day while smoking on the mountain, Van Hunks met a black-clad man wearing a black hat pulled low over his face. Van Hunks was a cordial man, so he greeted the stranger and sat down next to him. He then pulled out his pipe and proceeded to smoke in silence. The man also pulled out a pipe and said, “I bet I can smoke a lot more than you.” Van Hunks was not a man to let a wager pass him by, so he started huffing and puffing on his pipe.
So much did the two men smoke that huge smoky clouds settled over Table Mountain. Eventually the stranger gave up and put his pipe down. He pulled off his hat, and Van Hunks was startled to see that he had been competing with the devil himself!
2. Fodor Glava
A man named Fodor Glava was born a long time ago in Transylvania, and died there in 1918. Given the location, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that people thought he was a real vampire. Legend states that Glava was buried in the Lafayette Municipal Cemetery. For almost a century, locals have been urging one another to stand near the ancient grave without chickening out. Many of these locals have reported seeing a tall skinny man wearing a dark coat and sporting long nails sitting on top of the grave stone. It’s a favorite spooky spot during Halloween, especially since a trusted police officer said that he discovered a strange doll with a pin stuck in it on top of the stone.
The story goes on to say that a tree located in the middle of the vampire’s grave actually grew from the very stake that was driven through his heart. Nearby roses are his fingernails continuing to grow even after death. It’s not known exactly why people thought Fodor Glava was a vampire other than the fact that he was born in Transylvania, although his grave is the only one in the cemetery that has an actual marker.
Stories have been doing the rounds in Japan about huge human-like creatures living in Antarctic waters. These creatures have been named Ningen, and many sightings have been reported during research operations by Japanese crew. Those who have witnessed them claim that the creatures are as tall as thirty meters and are as white as the snow they live in. They’re said to have human-like legs, hands and fingers, though others claim they have fishtails and large fins. They have no facial features beyond their eyes and mouth.
One specific report states that several crew members saw what they believed to be a submarine far off in the ocean. Getting closer to the object they realized that what they were seeing was a live creature. It disappeared into the water as they approached. The legend of the Ningen doesn’t seem to be dying down, as reports keep coming in about sightings. A conspiracy theory making the rounds also claims that the Ningen are real but that the Japanese government is covering them up for sinister reasons.