Creepy Urban Legends Part One!
With Halloween just a few weeks away, we here at GGA couldn’t imagine a better way to spend it than by educating our dear readers with some creepy, potentially true, urban legends. So, what is an urban legend? Basically, it’s a modern form of folklore that people insist to be true. But- after a while- it’s been circulated around so many times that details of the urban legend begin to change drastically and nobody is sure of its authenticity. And the best part about urban legends? Pretty much anywhere you go in the world, there is bound to be some local tale told; you just need to ask around.
For example, a mere 15 minutes from my own home sits Granary Park Burying Ground where, supposedly, the ghosts of Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere are said to make an appearance every now and then. Some have even claimed to see Paul Revere on horseback as though reenacting his famous midnight ride from 1775. It just goes to show that everyone loves a good story regardless if it’s true or not. So! I have compiled a list of, in my opinion, the creepiest urban legends from every state in America. Scroll down, read up on your state’s weird history and I hope you find this as interesting as I did.
ALABAMA- Witch In the Woods
A quick web search reveals that not much is truly known about the witch of Gadsden. Legend says that she was a witch that lived in a shack very deep in the woods. At one point, for an unknown reason, she sold her soul to the devil. This is maybe why her presence is so wrathful to the unsuspecting people of Alabama. This legend has been around for many years and the only thing anyone can agree on is if you find yourself walking along the wooded Hinds Road, you are almost guaranteed to experience something very strange. Is it the witch of Gadsden? Or just your mind playing tricks on you.
ALASKA- The Alaskan Triangle
20,000 people. That’s just a rough estimate of the number of individuals lost to Alaska’s very own Bermuda Triangle. And this isn’t a small sliver of the state; it starts all the way from the southeastern region near Juneau and Yakutat, then up north to the Barrow mountain range, and to Anchorage in the middle of the state. People have been looking closely at these disappearances since the 1970s, since then all the speculations and investigating as to what happened to all these people have fallen into one of three possibilities. Could they have fallen into a space vortex? Kidnapped by some mythological creature that lives in the Alaskan wilderness? Or were they simply lost on some extreme hike?
ARIZONA- El Chupacabra
Rumored to be from Puerto Rico, the elusive El Chupacabra- a creature that is said to look like some sort of reptile or deformed dog- has been reported in many southwestern states of the U.S. Luckily for the residents of Arizona, El Chupacabra is bloodthirsty but not for humans. “The victims, mostly goats, cattle and chickens, are discovered after having been attacked sometime in the night. The animals are found emptied of blood, with peculiar, well-defined puncture wounds in either the neck or the hindquarters, though with no evidence of external bleeding.” –Weird Arizona.
ARKANSAS- The Legend of Dog Boy
Throughout his entire life, Gerald Bettis was known to be a cruel individual. He was rude, aggressive with his parents and had this nasty habit of catching animals to torture and kill in his home at 65 Mulberry Street. When he died of a drug overdose in the 1980s not many people were sad to see him go. They were even less happy when it appeared he came back. Over the years the people of Quitman, Arkansas have claimed to see the 300 pound and 6’4″ Gerald lingering around his former home on Mulberry Street. In death it seems Gerald has taken on a beast-like appearance, kind of like a dog; complete with glowing animal eyes, glaring out of the windows at strangers, even chasing people down the street.
CALIFORNIA- The Billiwhack Monster
California is full of urban legends but we’ll focus on the part human, part ape and who knows what else, California’s Billiwhack Monster. The scary thing has a distubring history that makes Bigfoot look like a teddy bear. During WWII, OSS officer August Rubel wanted to do his part during the war. So, in a secret room on Billiwhack Dairy Farm, he conducted numerous experiments in hopes of creating a super-soldier. Instead, the Billiwhack Monster was born. Since its escape the monster now spends its time terrorizing high school students of Santa Paula in Ventura County.
COLORADO- Riverdale Road
Colorado’s Riverdale Road has managed to jam pack tons of unusual activity in its 11-mile stretch. To any fan of the paranormal, this place has it all; demons, a ghost jogger with a vengeance, a phantom Camaro and the literal gates of Hell. So, if you ever find yourself near Thornton, consider taking a little detour towards Riverdale Road. Who knows what could happen?
CONNECTICUT- Gardner Lake Piano Music
Back in the early 1900s, a homeowner on Salem’s Gardner Lake decided he wanted to live on the other side of the lake. But instead of packing up to move to a different house, he decided he would take his home with him. So the family hatched a plan: once the lake froze over in winter they would simply push the entire house onto the other side of the lake. And it actually worked. Sort of. Once the house was placed over two wooden slabs it easily slid over but, since it’s a liter house, it was going to take a couple of days to complete the move. When the family returned one morning, they found that the ice had broken; resulting in the house partially leaning in the water. The family saved most of their possessions but had to leave behind heavier items, like the parlor piano. To this day the house still remains partially intact under the lake, witnesses even claim to hear eerie piano music coming from all over the lake. Some have even speculated that it’s coming from below the water. But, if that’s the case, then who is playing the eerie ballad? Creepy urban legend indeed.
Similar to Arkansas’ Dog Boy, Delaware’s Catman urban legend is a ghostly specter with cat-like features that is said to roam around Frankfort’s Long Cemetery. In life, Catman was apparently the cemetery’s former caretaker who still protects sacred grounds by chasing off troublemakers. Skeptical? If you just so happen to find yourself in Frankfort one evening, take a little trip to Long Cemetery and knock on the brick wall three times; Catman is said to appear.
FLORIDA- Robert the Doll
At first glance, Florida urban legend Robert seems like a creepy-looking but harmless doll. Robert the doll was a gift given to young Robert Eugene Otto back in 1906 by his voodoo-practicing nanny. At first, all was well and nobody thought much of the doll but it didn’t last long; Robert took his new best friend everywhere he went, often talking to him. This would be innocent enough if family and friends hadn’t sworn they would hear the doll replying. And whenever an item turned up broken or Robert’s room was found a mess, Robert would insist it was all the doll’s doing. Robert Eugene Otto died back in 1974, meanwhile Robert the doll has found a new home in Key West’s Martello Museum. Just be sure to ask nicely if you want a picture with the infamous Robert. Cameras malfunctioning, and much worse, are common around Robert.
GEORGIA- Lake Lanier Curse
Atlanta’s Lake Lanier should be the perfect vacation destination. And it actually is: “… 39,000 acres of water and is comprised of 692 miles of shoreline. Lake Lanier plays host to more than eight million annual visitors with 68 parks and recreation areas, twelve campgrounds with more than 1,200 campsites, ten full-service marinas with restaurants, gas docks, pump-out stations and boat storage.” (Lake Lanier Folklore) Sounds perfect, right? Well, it would be if you choose to ignore the fact that it’s a magnet for the strange and tragic. Frequent boating accidents, drownings, ghosts walking around and even a catfish that is big enough to swallow a dog. If you’re seeking a little excitement on your next vacation Lake Lanier just might be up your alley.
HAWAII- Night Marchers
In very specific parts area’s of Hawaii, it is said that at night you can hear the chants and beating drums of ancient Hawaiian warriors. The ghostly apparitions are rumored to be brutal and if anyone encounters them, there are only two ways they will spare you. You must either share a bloodline with one of the warriors or if you pee on yourself. I’m serious. You must lay face down on the ground, sort of playing dead, and pee on yourself in submission. So…that’s fun? I guess?
IDAHO- The Dragon of Payette Lake
One of the earliest reports of the ‘dragon’ in Payette Lake dates back to the 1940s, where dozens of people came forward to report seeing “… a dinosaur-like creature that was at least 30 feet long with shell-like skin and humps along its brownish-green back materializing in the water.” (Ranker) Over the years the dragon, affectionately named Sharlie, has been spotted by visitors of the lake with the most recent sighting in 2002.
ILLINOIS- Resurrection Mary
Hitchhiking nowadays is pretty rare with the exception of Illinois’ Resurrection Mary, the ghost of a girl who was hit by a car and died near Resurrection Cemetery back in the 1930s. Now, maybe searching for the driver that killed her, Mary stands out on the streets of Chicago late at night hoping for someone to give her a ride. The few that have stopped reported clearly seeing the mysterious blond girl get into their car only to vanish right in front of them.
INDIANA- The Witch of Devil’s Hollow
After noticing teens and vandals using land near her home, an old woman hatched a fairly simple plan; she decided to start a rumor that she was a witch. Surely that would be enough to keep her secluded home…well, secluded. It didn’t take long for the plan to backfire, resulting in her home being set on fire by an unknown group of people with the old woman still inside. The spirit of the old woman is said to roam Devil’s Hollow (near Fort Wayne) to scare off any trespassers.
IOWA- Black Angel
Who doesn’t love a good cursed statue? Iowa’s Oakland Cemetery is home to the Black Angel monument. Urban legend says that it only takes a kiss or a mere touch of the statue and that is enough for the angel to kill you. Even expecting mothers aren’t safe from this fallen angel, if a pregnant woman walks beneath the outstretched wings she will apparently miscarry.
KANSAS- Man in Black
If you just so happen to by driving through Kansas, specifically along US 56 by 189th Street, it’s likely you will encounter the strange man dressed completely in black. It’s unknown who he is or why he roams that specific area. All anyone can agree on is that he is harmless enough, they see him walking along the road for a moment before he vanishes into thin air.
KENTUCKY- The Witches’ Tree
It really did look like any other tree. A tall maple tree with thick, majestic branches was a favorite for the locals of Louisville to get some protection from the brutal sun. In the late 19th century this particular tree became a favorite for another group of people. A coven. They often met at midnight and did what one would expect witches to do, brewed potions, cast spells and perfected curses. When they caught wind that their tree was going to be cut down they decided to leave a little warning, this came in the form of a note on the trunk of the tree:
“This tree shall stand and not be cut, We’ve fed her with our laughter. Our leafy haven you’ll not gut. Or pay forever after. But if you, Wooden King, prevail, And Mother Maple dies, The force of Fate shall strike this town And right between the eyes. If our tree falls, yes, Fate will call To teach you, heartless Dunce, That all man’s work can disappear. BEWARE THE ELEVENTH MONTH!”
This didn’t stop anything and the tree was cut down. This makes what happened 11 months later seem very suspect. One of the deadliest tornados in Kentucky’s history touched down in the area and nearly leveled the entire city.
LOUISIANA- The Vampire Brothers
New Orleans is considered one of the most haunted cities in America with plenty of urban legends. In the 1930s many in the city were trying to survive during the Great Depression, this included a pair of brothers called John and Wayne Carter. They were poor, like most, but seemed normal enough. That is until a woman with slit and bleeding wrists escaped their apartment. Naturally, the police were called to investigate. They found several other individuals in a similar state as the woman and about a dozen dead bodies that were completely drained of blood. The brothers were caught, executed and their bodies were sealed in the family funeral vault. It wasn’t until another member of the Carter family was being put in the vault did people notice something strange. John and Wayne’s bodies, it seemed, were missing. With no sign of a break-in or great escape, they were simply gone.
MAINE- Sabattus Well
In recent history, a group of teenagers found themselves behind an abandoned barn in Sabattus. Whether it be because of a date or just wanted to show off one of the boys made the choice to be lowered into the well from a tire tied to a rope. All was fine until the boy suddenly went quiet. His friends wasted no time pulling him back up, fearing he may have fallen, only to discover something much more unusual. The young man wasn’t a young man anymore. In just a few minutes he aged dramatically, his hair white as snow and his speech unintelligible. He never recovered and has found a new home at the county’s mental institution.
When German immigrants made Maryland their new home they brought many things with them to properly remember the old country; memories, maybe some recipes, and the terrifying tale of the Snallygaster. Described as “…half-bird, half-reptile swoops down from the skies to hunt livestock and small children. The carnivorous creature allegedly has a 25-foot wingspan and deadly talons that glow like hot metal…a blazing red third eye in the middle of its forehead, razor-sharp teeth, and octopus-like tentacles.” And the worst part? This creature is clever too. Witnesses claim to see the Snallygaster mimicking human-like noises, as though trying to trap victims with fake cries for help.
MASSACHUSETTS- The Bridgewater Triangle
The most notorious forest in Massachusetts might be called the Bridgewater Triangle though it isn’t known for hundreds of disappearances. Being a hotbed for paranormal activity, this forest has had reported sightings of just about any supernatural thing you can think of. Murders, suicides, animals being brutally mutilated as well as Satanic rituals, floating orbs, hooded figured and even UFO sightings. If you were looking for somewhere to throw a Halloween party, this might be the place!
If you’re seeking a little entertainment in Michigan you might want to consider visiting Michigan’s historic Calumet Theater. It plays host to many local productions and is just what you’d expect in such an old building; it’s even got a ghost or two. One of the more noteworthy ghosts was a Polish opera singer named Madame Helen Modjeska. Before her passing in 1909 Helen performed at the Calumet three times though it appeared even death couldn’t keep her from the theaters. Actors and visitors alike have claimed to see Madame Modjeska many times over the years; including one actress who was stumbling horribly over her lines one evening, she insisted it was Madame Madame Modjeska who appeared by her side to help her by mouthing the lines perfectly.
MINNESOTA- Phantom Kangaroo
A phantom kangaroo looks exactly how it sounds, at least that’s what the people of Coon Rapids say. It’s an aggressive kangaroo, with glowing eyes and the ability to disappear and appear in the blink of an eye. It was most active in 1957-1967, often seen going through people’s garbage cans, killing local pets and occasionally chasing people that got too close.
MISSISSIPPI- Mercritis Cover Up
Being the conspiracy nut I am, it was no surprise that I lost my mind when I found out about the Mercritis cover-up urban legend. The story goes that an unusual disease made its way to a small town in Mississippi in the 1950s. Its origin is unknown, though it’s speculated it came from Europe, it resulted in an outbreak; some men from the town got lead poisoning. One of the side effects of the illness was an odor the men would give off, causing all the women to fly into a homicidal rage. They banded together, destroying everything in sight and causing a ruckus while searching for victims to kill.
MISSOURI- The Bride Under the Bridge
The tragic tale of the ghost bride in Springfield, Missouri is something right out of a Lifetime movie. On the day of her wedding, a young bride took a detour through Phelps Grove Park where she tragically died in a car accident. Now people claim to see her ghost walking around the park whilst clutching her wedding gown. Specifically in the evening near the third bridge. She seems harmless enough but the shadow that covers where her face once was leaves witnesses unsettled, to say the least.
This was originally published on 10/15/2018