Halloween is approaching, and this October includes a potentially ominous Friday the 13th. So what better way to get your chill on than reading about some creepy urban legends that have freaked people out for many years.
In the same vein as the well-known classics, these urban legends have been carried over from one generation to the next. They will likely continue to scare our children’s children for a while yet.
10 El Silbon
As told in Venezuela and Colombia, El Silbon is a tale about a creature that has been damned to roam the Earth carrying a bag of bones.
The creature was once a little boy who lived with his parents in Venezuela. Being an only child, he was spoiled to no end by his parents. Unfortunately, this turned him into a picky and demanding brat.
After insisting on deer meat for dinner one night and becoming extremely angry when his father failed to produce it, the boy stabbed his father in the stomach, pulled out his intestines, and took them to his mother to cook.
Although the mother cooked the entrails, she eventually became suspicious at the look of the meat. Realizing what the boy had done, the mother was overcome with grief and let the boy’s grandfather deal with the evil child.
The grandfather whipped the boy within an inch of his life and then rubbed chilies and lemon juice in his wounds. Then the grandfather handed the boy a bag full of his father’s bones and set a pack of dogs loose on him as the boy ran away. Just before the dogs killed the boy, the grandfather cursed him. And that was the origin of the creature known as El Silbon.
It is said that El Silbon still roams around, whistling and entering homes without anyone noticing. He puts the bag of bones on the floor and counts them inside the home. If he goes unnoticed, a member of the family in that house will die. However, if the family does notice him, the boy turns their bad fortune into good luck.
9 Japanese Suicide Drawing
The most disturbing urban legends in the world often originate in Asia, with some turned into even creepier horror movies. In one such legend, a teenage Japanese girl drew a beautiful color picture of a young girl who seemingly stares directly at you. The teen posted the picture online and, for some unknown reason, committed suicide shortly afterward.
Soon, people started commenting online that they could see sadness and even anger in the eyes of the drawn girl. Others said that her lips would start curling into a smirk the longer you looked at her and a ring would form around her. Some people took it even further, saying that there were unfortunate souls who stared at the picture for more than five minutes and ended up taking their own lives.
As depicted in pictures and movies throughout the years, horses are beautiful creatures. However, if you visit Iceland and spot a gray horse standing next to a massive body of water such as the sea or even a lake, do yourself a favor and look at the horse’s hooves. If they face backward, you have a little problem.
It is said that this horse, named Nykur, is a water-dwelling beast that sometimes surfaces to lure unsuspecting humans to a watery death. His skin is sticky. So if a person is enchanted by the horse and mounts it, he will not be able to get off again. Instead, he will be dragged along to Nykur’s underwater home and drowned.
Yelling its name at the horse is said to scare it into running back into the water alone.
7 The Baby In The High Chair
This urban legend is told all over the world but seems to have some of its roots in Norway. For many years, a Norwegian couple didn’t go on a proper holiday. Finally, when everything fell into place one year, they found a trustworthy nanny for their baby boy and planned a long holiday.
When the day came for them to depart, the nanny was late. She eventually called to tell them that her car was giving her trouble. However, she said that she could call a mechanic and then walk to their home as she was only about 15 minutes away.
Reassured by this, the couple strapped their baby to his high chair, kissed him goodbye, and then left for their holiday as they were already late for the airport. They left the back door open for the nanny.
One version of the tale has it that the nanny arrived to find the door locked (blown shut by the wind), so she assumed the couple had the baby with them. She then left.
Another version says that the nanny was killed after being hit by a truck on her way to the house. Yet another says that the nanny was an elderly relative of the couple and she died of a heart attack before she could get to their home.
In every version, the couple returned home to find their son dead and bloated, still strapped to his high chair.
6 The Studley Girl
The scariest urban legends are the ones that hit close to home. Three years ago, a reddit user recounted the tale that scared him throughout his childhood and teenage years. He lives in the town of Mechanicsville, Virginia, which has a winding road called Studley Road.
Years ago, a little girl lived in a small house on this road with her mother and alcoholic father. Flying into a rage one night, the man beat his wife and child to death and then shot himself.
With her broken jaw hanging from her face, the little girl didn’t die immediately. Instead, she made her way down Studley Road looking for help before eventually collapsing, blood staining the front of her pajamas.
Now, when you take one of Studley Road’s winding turns that lead into the woods, you can see the specter of the little girl slowly moving down the road with her back turned to you.
Unsuspecting drivers who don’t know about the legend have pulled over to help her, only for her to turn around and let out an unearthly scream from her loose-hanging jaw. Sometimes, she also gurgles through the blood still streaming from her mouth.
5 Ghost Wagon
South Africa has its fair share of urban legends, which include the hitchhiker of Uniondale and The Flying Dutchman. However, a creepier one goes all the way back to 1887. Major Alfred Ellis contributed this tale, which is still told today, to South African Sketches.
Four men—Lutterodt, Seururier, Anthony de Heer, and an unnamed visitor from Cape Town—undertook a journey from Ceres to Beaufort West by wagon. This area was known as the spokeveld (“ghost region”) and was even indicated as such on old South Africa maps.
During their trip, one of the wagon wheels suddenly gave out and it took them until 3:00 AM to get it fixed. They were hardly on the road again when their horses became agitated and eventually froze in place, unwilling to move any farther.
From out of nowhere, the men heard the sound of a wagon coming toward them at high speed. When they finally caught sight of it, they witnessed a driver cracking a whip at 14 horses as the wagon headed directly for them.
The unnamed visitor, Seururier, and Lutterodt jumped from the wagon, but de Heer grabbed the reins and successfully moved his wagon out of the path of the other speeding wagon.
Annoyed, de Heer yelled after the other driver: “Where do you think you are going?” To which the other driver replied, “To hell.” Then he and his wagon disappeared into thin air.
Later, Lutterodt said that they only realized afterward that anyone who dared to challenge the spooky driver of the disappearing wagon would be doomed. A week after the incident, they found de Heer’s body at the bottom of a cliff. The remains of his wagon and the carcasses of his dead horses surrounded him.
4 Baby Blue
In the same vein as Bloody Mary, Baby Blue is a legend that originated from a tale in which a psychotic mother killed her baby boy with a shard of mirror glass. Naturally, there are those who would like to conjure up the spirit of Baby Blue (which is what the unnamed baby was dubbed).
The ritual to do this includes going into a bathroom at night, fogging up the mirror, and writing “Baby Blue” on it. Then the light must be turned off, and the person who wrote the name on the mirror should hold out his arms as if a baby were in them. The spirit of the baby will then appear in his open arms. If the person drops the baby, the mirror will shatter and the person will die.
Another version of the tale says that if you go into a dark bathroom and chant “Baby Blue” 13 times while rocking your arms back and forth, the baby will appear and scratch you. However, dropping the baby and running away is the best idea this time as his psychotic mother will appear in the mirror and kill you otherwise.
3 Poinciana Woman
One of the most unsettling urban myths to come out of Australia tells the story of a young woman who was raped by Japanese fishermen at Darwin’s East Point. When she realized she was pregnant, she was horrified and hanged herself from a poinciana tree.
Her restless spirit started stalking men in East Point, appearing to them as a beautiful vision in white. However, as soon as the men are entranced by her, she turns into a fearful hag with long claws, eviscerates them, and eats their intestines.
For those who are brave, the poinciana woman can be summoned by spinning around three times on a dark, moonless night and calling out her name. Her distinctive scream will let you know that she has been successfully summoned.
2 The Devil’s Toy Box
The Hellraiser movies are said to have inspired a terrifying legend making the rounds in America. It is alleged that there is a one-room cabin called the Devil’s Toy Box in Louisiana that contains a bunch of mirrors from the floor to the roof. According to the tale, if a person goes into the cabin and stays too long, the Devil will appear and take that person’s soul.
During their investigations, paranormal researchers found that the mirrors make up the six sides of the cabin but they face inward. It is said that no one can stay in there longer than five minutes.
One man stayed over four minutes, came out mute, and never spoke again. A woman allegedly suffered cardiac arrest while inside the cabin, and a teenage boy had to be forcibly removed while kicking and screaming. He killed himself two weeks later.
1 Teke Teke
According to an especially frightening legend from Japan, a female office worker was raped and beaten by American military men in Hokkaido a few years after World War II. The young woman jumped off a bridge that evening and was hit by a train on the railroad tracks below.
Her body was severed in half at the waist. As the extremely cold weather prevented her from bleeding out immediately, she managed to drag her upper half to a train station where a shocked attendant threw a plastic tarp over her. She eventually died in extreme agony.
Urban legend now has it that three days after you hear or read about this tale, the ghost of the young woman will appear to you, making a teke teke sound as she crawls toward you on her arms. You cannot outrun her as she can reach speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour (93 mph).
Her mission is to catch as many people as she can. Then she will cut off and steal the lower halves of their bodies. The only way to escape certain death is to answer her questions. If she asks whether you need your legs, you must reply that you need them right now. And if she asks who told you her story, you must answer, “Kashima Reiko.”
Estelle lives in Gauteng, South Africa.