It seems every culture has its share of terrifying and disturbing stories spanning generations. While there have been some claims of genuine incidents that inspire these stories, many remain a mystery. More often than not, they tap into our deepest fears, they work their way into our subconscious… and they go viral. Some of these stories evolve into cautionary tales, while others become legends unto themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the most sinister and spine-tingling urban legends from around the world:
4 The Ghost of Stow Lake
The popular ghost story surrounding Stow Lake in San Francisco, California has been circulating for nearly a hundred years. Halloween celebrators in the city may be able to muster up the courage to visit certain areas famed for their haunting, such as the pet cemetery in Presidio. Yet, not many people have dared to spend a night at Stow Lake – especially during Halloween.
The legend goes that a lady was walking her baby in the stroller and then sat down to rest for a few minutes. While she struck up a conversation with another lady, she had not noticed that the stroller had rolled away into the lake. After she noticed that the stroller was gone, she panicked and started asking everyone, “Have you seen my baby?” She searched all day and night in vain and finally checked the lake by nightfall. She went into the lake in search of her baby and was never seen again…
Rumor has it that the lady comes out from the lake at night or the statue built in her honor comes to life. Some say she will come up to you and ask the same question she had been asking others on that fateful night, “Have you seen my baby?” Another part of the legend warns that if you repeat the line “White lady, white lady, I have your baby…” thrice, the ghost will appear and ask the same question. If you say “yes”, be prepared for a haunting but if you deny it, she will kill you.
3 The abandoned village of Kuldhara
The famed haunted village of Kuldhara is in Rajasthan, India and was a prosperous village some 300 years ago. According to legend, the people of the village vanished one night and were never seen again. However, before they left, they put a curse on the village so that no one would be able to live there again. The village remains abandoned to this day. There are rumors that people have been chased away by paranormal forces when they tried to spend the night.
The Indian Paranormal Society, who has surveyed more than 500 locations throughout India, tried to unravel the mystery behind Kuldhara. A team of 18 people braved an entire night in the village and one of them reported feeling someone touching his shoulder. He looked around but was unable to find anyone. The team also reported instant temperature drops and unexplained moving shadows. Is this proof that ghosts really exist or is it just a result of an overactive imagination? You wouldn’t know unless you spend the night there yourself.
2 The Body Under the Bed
You’ve probably heard of the story of a couple checking into a hotel room only to find that the room smelled so bad that they had to request another room. A few days later, they watch a news report about a dead body being found under the bed of that same hotel room. Turns out that this urban legend isn’t just a horrific tale but inspired by true incidents…
In 1999, a German couple had complained about the horrible smell in their room of the Burgundy Motor Inn in New Jersey. They uncovered the body of 64-year-old Saul Hernandez, rapidly decomposing inside the bed. A similar incident occurred in 2003, where a body was found under the bed of the Capri Motel in Kansas City.
More recently in 2014, a decomposed body of a woman was found underneath the bed of an unspecified motel in New Jersey. Police claims that it had been there for at least five years. This particular story was later proven to be a fake. There are a number of other incidents similar to the ones mentioned here, so make sure you check under the bed next time you check into a motel room.
1 The Slit-Mouth Woman
This popular urban legend received mainstream recognition after the movie Carved was released in 2007. In 2014, an episode of Constantine also featured the slit-mouth woman. The origin of the story dates back thousands of years ago in Japan according to Mask of Reason.
Known as Kuchisake-Onna, the slit-mouth woman began appearing in Japan during the seventies. According to the legend, a woman wearing a surgical mask would appear to people who were travelling alone in the night. She would ask them, “Do you think I’m pretty?” If they answered in the negative, she would kill them.
If they, however, answered “yes”, she would take off the mask, revealing a mouth that has been slit from ear to ear and then ask again. If they said “no” this time, she would kill them and even if they said “yes” she would still follow them home and then kill them. The legend resurfaced in the early 2000s and has been around since. This would make an awesome Halloween costume, don’t you think?
There are literally hundreds of horrifying and sometimes just plain ludicrous urban legends around the world. These are just a few of them and the stories behind them. Which one was your favorite? Got anything to add? Feel free to leave a comment below.
This has been a guest post by Brandon Leibowitz.
Brandon Leibowitz is a seasoned writer for global thrift retailers, Savers and Value Village. He is a frequent contributor to blogs such as Social Media Examiner, Businesss 2 Community and several others. Brandon is recognized as a strong social media influencer due to his knowledge of and dedication to the industry.