Would you believe me if I told you there was a time before the internet? I know; the prospect is horrifying. What did our ancestors do before cat videos and easily shareable listicles? Well, they’d sit around the fire and tell urban legends, which are basically creepypastas but, you know, the verbal, non-internet kind. And here are some of the creeeeeeepiest:
1. The Hook
While a young couple makes out at a lovers’ lane, the radio switches to a news bulletin about a serial killer who just escaped from a nearby prison. The killer has a hook for a hand and a penchant for slaughtering sexy young couples. Their makeout sesh gets interrupted when the girl hears scratching noises coming from somewhere outside the car. After insisting they leave, the couple discovers the killer’s hook hanging from the door handle.
2. The Serial Killer in the Backseat
A woman is driving at night when a strange car or truck begins following her. The mystery driver flashes his high beams, tailgates her, and sometimes even rams her vehicle. When she gets home, she realizes the driver was trying to warn her about the man (usually a murderer, a rapist, an escaped mental patient, or some combination of the three) in her back seat. Whenever the man would sit up to attack her, the driver would flash his high beams and force the killer to duck. In other versions, the woman pulls over for gas and the gas station attendant calls her inside to deal with a problem with her credit card, only to ask if she knows about the man in her backseat.
3. Lights Out
Supposedly gang members would drive around with their headlights out until a passing motorist flashed their own headlights to let them know. The gang would then follow the helpful passer-by back to their house and murdering them as an initiation rite. Back when fax machines were a thing, Nassau County, Florida’s fire department received a fax about this urban legend and it was forwarded on to police, the rest of the city departments, and even the Canadian Minister of Defense’s office.
4. Bunny Man
A bus transporting a number of prisoners crashes, killing the driver and most of the inmates, but ten escaped. A search party found all but one of them. Around this time, locals start finding skinned, half-eaten rabbit carcasses hanging from trees. Another search leads police to find the remains of a human body carved up much like the rabbits. The missing inmate, Douglas J. Grifon, is named as a suspect and is dubbed”the bunny man”. While they manage to locate him, Grifon escapes before being hit by an oncoming train where the original transport crashed. They say that the police heard laughter at the crash site and it’s eventually revealed that Grifon was put away for killing his wife and children on Easter Sunday.
5. The Vanishing Hitchhiker
A Good Samaritan pulls over to pick up a stranded hitchhiker. At some point the hitchhiker abruptly disappears from the backseat, leaving behind an item or having borrowed a garment to keep warm. They also leave some of information that encourages the driver to make contact with them. The driver either brings the abandoned item to the location or finds their scarf or jacket at the site. Surprise: it’s a graveyard. It’s inevitably revealed that the hitchhiker died in a car accident and the driver encountered them on the anniversary of their death.
6. The Spider Bite
This one is beautifully simple. A young woman returns home from a trip abroad somewhere exotic, where she was bitten on the cheek by a spider. The bite swells up to a massive boil and she seeks medical treatment. The doctor lances the boil and hundreds of tiny baby spiders explode from her cheek. She goes insane from the shock.
7. Bloody Mary
It’s said that if you stand in a dark room with a mirror and a candle and call for Bloody Mary three times, a horrible blood woman will appear. Historically, young women would do this to find out who they would marry. Now, it’s more likely that Bloody Mary will show up in the mirror covered in blood, ready to kill you. What a good jump-scare for sleepovers.
What’s your favorite old school urban legend? Let me know on Twitter!