Urban legends are shared and passed down from one generation to the next all over the world. They are meant to instill fear and terror in the minds and hearts of all those who hear them. The subjects of these legends take on many shapes, sizes and forms from ghouls to night walkers to bloodthirsty vortices. With every time that these tales are retold, the terror spreads farther and deeper.
The following are the creepiest urban legends from every state in the USA:
Alabama: Dead Children’s Playground
Why it’s creepy: This children’s playground that lies adjacent to Maple Hill, Huntsville’s is the town’s oldest cemetery and does not just have a creepy name for the kicks of it. This playground was created in order for parents to leave their kids at while they visited their loved ones’ graves. According to legend, the children buried in the adjacent graveyard come out to play at night. People have witnessed light orbs roaming around in the playground, on swings and slides. Some of the spirits are rumored to be of the kids murdered by a rash child murderer from the ’60s
Origin: “The playground itself wasn’t opened until 1985, so you can imagine how much pent-up energy the tiny spirits had after 163 years without a slide. In 2007, the city tried to raze the park to make more room for graves and removed the slides and swings overnight. After public outcry, it was replaced with more modern equipment, making it slightly less creepy to look at, and also probably resulting in some happier ghosts.” – Andy Kryza
Alaska: The Alaska Triangle
Why it’s creepy: The Alaska Triangle is the equivalent of the Bermuda triangle and it comprises of an area from the southeast near Juneau to the metropolis of Anchorage in the west. It contains some of the most barren and spooky places of wilderness in the US. During the last 50 years, over 20,000 people have ventured within that region and disappeared, leaving no trace behind. Nobody has any idea where these people went and the government even intervened. In 1972, a search party was organized and in return House Majority Leader Hale Boggs’ Cessna was lost to the Triangle. The search ended up being futile and a series of conspiracy theories arose.
Origin: “The area has been associated with evil spirits, and Tlingit lore for centuries attributed trickster demons for luring people to an icy death. Others believe the area exists amid an electromagnetically influenced “vile vortex.” Still others think it’s a Darwinian result of explorers taking on nature. Regardless, the area continues to claim people, and underneath that massive blanket of snow and rock likely lies one of the largest and best-preserved mass graves in the world.” – AK
Why it’s creepy: The deserted roads of Arizona are creepy enough on their own. But, when cruising these desolate roads at night going on a 60 mph and you hear repetitive taps on your windows, it is especially creepy. People who have experienced these phenomena say that they witnessed shapeshifting apparitions that are only half human. Skinwalkers – they seek the flesh of their victims. In Arizona, this legend is far too deep-rooted and in one notable case, a brutally murdered Navajo woman’s accused killer defended himself in court by stating that the attack was perpetrated by a Skinwalker.
Origin: “The Skinwalkers, like so many ancient American urban legends, have roots in Native American folklore. While it’s fairly hard to gather specific details — as speaking of potentially sinister legends is seriously taboo in Navajo culture — it is understood that what non-Navajos refer to as “skinwalkers” are witch doctors who have become an evil reflection of everything the Navajo nation values. Basically, they are men who’ve transformed into malevolent, murderous creatures that have no qualms using their spiritual powers to kill. Navajo medicine men are trained to learn both good and evil aspects of their power, and Skinwalkers are those who have turned to the Dark Side. It’s all very Star Wars. And, frankly, still terrifying.” – Wil Fulton
Arkansas: The Dog Boy
Why it’s creepy: In the town of Quitman in Arkansas, at 65 Mulberry Street many people have claimed to witness a strange 300-pound hulk of a beast – half man and half beast. Its eyes glisten like that of a beast as well. It can be seen staring out of windows and it is in your best interest to depart from there rather quickly.
Origin: “This is actually the rare urban legend where the story behind the story ends up being even creepier than the folklore. Gerald Bettis, the only son of the Bettis family of 65 Mulberry, was always a problem child. But not in the cute, Junior Healy way. Bettis would “collect” and torture animals (hence the “dog boy” moniker), before turning his sociopathic focus to his elderly parents, allegedly imprisoning them in their own home and potentially even murdering his father. Eventually, Bettis would be imprisoned for growing marijuana on his back porch and would die in a state penitentiary in 1988 of a drug overdose.” – WF
California: The Many Horrors of Turnbull Canyon
Why it’s creepy: A 49,000-acre region located near Los Angeles between City of Industry and Whittier, Turnbull is canyon of nightmares. The natives of the region call the place “Hutukngna,” or in other words “the place of the Devil.” It is presumed that the ghosts of those killed for not converting to Christianity live in the canyon alongside the Satanists and witches. Apparently the spirits of the children slain for rituals also dwell there. A plane rumored to have crashed in 1952 in the canyon had 21 kids on board- their spirits live in Turnbull too. From cults to gravity hills and alien encounters, Turnbull has them all – literally the root of all which is cursed.
Origin: “The place’s evil vibes date back centuries, though it wasn’t until the site was established as a fur-trapping site in 1845 that things started getting really intense, with word of the site’s terrors traveling far and wide and making it a place visited as much for its beauty as morbid curiosity.” – AK
Colorado: Riverdale Road
Why it’s creepy: The number of terrifying legends associated with all 11 miles of the Riverdale Road near Thornton, Colorado are enough to terrify even the bravest of paranormal investigators. Multiple demons, phantom cars and even ghostly joggers that attack parked cars, the list is far too long and scary. Despite that all, the Gates of Hell are the most horrifying. Although no longer standing, the remains of a partial shell of an old mansion still stand where a husband burned his children and wife alive. A supernatural pack of dogs even inhabits the location. Many people believe that the place holds a portal to Hell.
Origin: “It’s unknown when things got really hairy, though given the spirits of ghost slaves, it’s safe to assume terrible things have been happening on Riverdale Road since the 1850s. And each time something terrible happened over the decades, it just kind of got stacked onto this nesting doll of a horror show.” – AK
Why it’s creepy: Another name for Dudleytown is the “dark vortex.” Accordign to rumor, people who steal artifacts from the town are doomed to be cursed for the rest of their lives alongside their family. Just about every kind of paranormal experience you can think of, the visitors of Dudleytown have reported seeing. From lack of wildlife to sinister light orbs, animal shadows, voices and murmurs, an eerie feeling haunts the place. Additionally, a mysterious group titled “the Dark Forest Association” ensures that the grounds are policed with militant forces. That makes one really wonder about what goes on down there.
Origin: “The curse of the ill-fated Dudleys began back in jolly ol’ England, where Edmund Dudley was beheaded for conspiring against King Henry VII. This treacherous act apparently unleashed a curse on the rest of the Dudley clan, which emigrated from Guilford, England to Cornwall, Connecticut in 1748. They helped establish a community centered around the town’s then-thriving iron industry before a series of untimely disasters befell the family. These calamities included a series of mysterious deaths which, in turn, inspired madness and suicide among the Dudleys, several of whom disappeared into the woods never to be seen again. The remaining residents very sensibly ditched the town, which has been abandoned ever since.” – Janelle Albukhari
Delaware: Mr. Chew
Why it’s creepy: A respectable man by the name of Samuel Chew was a Chief Justice in the state of Delaware back in the Colonial days. However, his name was mocked and a lot of bullies called him “ah, Chew” pretending to sneeze. He disliked the bullying to a point that even his spirit does not rest easy. He comes back to haunt those who mocked him.
Origin: “Chew was very much a real man, serving as Chief Justice of the Three Lower Counties until he died in 1743. Things got so unsettling that people eventually held a “funeral” for the ghost in Dover’s Green, laying his spirit to rest in an ornate grave. He seemed to be placated, though he’s still known to mess with smartasses who sneeze at the mention of his name.” – AK
Florida: The Skunk Ape
Why it’s creepy: Although the Everglades are renowned for their fearsome wildlife, one creature instills fear into the hearts of men like no other. It is called the Skunk Ape. Presumed to be a relative of Bigfoot, this creature stands 5-7 feet tall when fully grown and weighs about 450 pounds. It is easy to spot them as they give off a “sun-baked animal carcass” odor resembling “rotting garbage.” They survive of small animals and berries but they are known to ravage farms and kill even wild boars. It is not possible for the public to reserve spots for hunting expeditions and witness the Skunk Ape in all its glory.
Origin: “No one can say for sure. But because its lineage can be traced back to Bigfoot, many believe it migrated south from the mountains and found refuge in the swamplands, an environment safe from humans with ample sustenance and room to roam. Others believe it’s just lore, a tale pioneers created in order to scare people off their lands and preserve the wilderness. Whatever you believe, should you find yourself camping in the Everglades and you smell something foul, take caution. It could be the Skunk Ape.” – Alex Robinson
Georgia: The Curse of Lake Lanier
Why it’s creepy: Unnerving, the gigantic man-made lake which lies north of Atlanta has a reputation for mysterious and tragic deaths. In fact, a disproportionately high frequency of drownings and boating accidents. More than 30 years after the death of a woman in a car crash, a construction crew discovered her skeleton still trapped in her car at the bottom of the lake. People have also frequently noted sightings of a ghostly female figure. Reports of scary catfish that live in the waters also surfaced, stating that they can swallow a dog or drown a diver.
Origin: “There were numerous issues with the construction of the lake, not the least of which included the displacement of families, businesses, and even cemeteries occupying the land the Army Corps of Engineers sought to develop. The vestiges of some of these structures still have a ghostly presence at the bottom of the lake, which some point to as a source of Lanier’s haunted reputation. Others point to the simple “water + alcohol = accidents” formula to explain the tragedies (Lanier IS a notorious party lake). But, as noted above, many of the deaths go beyond simple boating accidents, leading some to believe there’s something more sinister at work.” – Matt Lynch
Hawaii: The Night Marchers
Why it’s creepy: The ancient Hawaiian warriors; spirits are fabled to roam the islands, protecting them from outside threats. According to legend, your life will only be spared if you lie face down and pee yourself into submission. Another case is if you happen to share a bloodline with those warriors. Otherwise, you are doomed.
Origin: “The first alleged “encounter” with The Night Marches, known as Huaka’I po in Hawaiian, was recorded when Captain Cook arrived on Hawaiian shores in 1778. In Hawaiian tradition, the night marchers’ role in life was to protect sacred members of the community. In modern times, their spirits have been reported all throughout the islands, mainly at the sites of sacrificial temples and other sacred grounds. Oh, and the decidedly corporate Davies Pacific Center building in downtown Honolulu. Apparently, they still protect the island from outsiders — and if you buy into the legend, they always will.” – WF
Idaho: The Phantom Jogger of Canyon Hill
Why it’s creepy: Despite numerous rumors of hauntings in Idaho’s centuries-old Canyon Hill Cemetery in Caldwell, there is one that attracts the most attention: the Midnight Jogger. According to legend, the Midnight Jogger is very specific about where you park your car at night. If you happen to park it in between two specific trees, the apparition will knock on your windows to notify you of its presence. And then it will continue on its way.
Origin: “The origins are unknown, though considering there’s another conspiratorial legend that the entire state of Idaho doesn’t actually exist, perhaps the jogger is just a creation of a deranged and deceptive government.” – AK
Illinois: The Italian Bride
Why it’s creepy: The Italian Bride is a marble statue of a woman in a wedding dress standing in a cemetery and it has become a subject of local fascination. When closely inspected, viewers can see an actual photo plaque of a woman in a casket on the gravesite. It appears as if she is perfectly preserved despite the fact that the inscription states that the photo was taken six years, post-burial, following the body’s exhumation. People have reported unusual activity such as the scent of fresh flowers in the middle of winter by the gravesite and the vision of a ghostly womanly figure clad in white walking through the cemetery in the dead of night.
Origin: “In 1921, recently married Julia Buccola Petta died in childbirth and was buried in her wedding dress. Legend has it her mother immediately began experiencing nightmares that Julia was demanding her grave be reopened. The source of the distress varies depending on the storyteller, often relating to some sort of discontent with Julia’s new husband, but what isn’t in dispute is that six years later the mother got her wish and Julia’s pristine condition inspired her to raise funds for the statue that’s been creeping out generations ever since.” – ML
Indiana: Diana of the Dunes
Why it’s creepy: Diana, a ghostly female apparition in the nude, has been sighted multiple times along the shores of Lake Michigan. Vacationers, passersby and even fishermen have witnessed the entity and watched it disappear without a trace into the water.
Origin: “Fishermen first started reporting the sightings of a woman skinny dipping in the waters off Indiana’s Lake Michigan coastline in 1916 — and that’s because Alice Gray, the source of the Diana legend, was still very much alive at that point. The exact circumstances that caused her to live a reclusive life in a lakeside shack aren’t entirely clear, but the years that followed saw her marry a man who later became a murder suspect, and then die an early death, allegedly from uremic poisoning. Her ghostly presence has been a subject of local lore ever since.” – ML
Iowa: Villisca Ax Murder House
Why it’s creepy: Basically, because of the fact that it is an “ax murder house.”
Origin: “So, the murders themselves are very much NOT an urban legend. They happened. And they remain unsolved. Sometime between the evening of June 9,1912 and the morning that followed, six members of the Moore family and two houseguests were brutally murdered, with each victim having suffered an axe wound to the head. One suspect was tried twice and never convicted. Surprising no one, the somehow still standing house is the subject of numerous rumors, legends, and reports of paranormal activity. You can find out for yourself, because you can actually stay there, just like the ghost hunter who mysteriously stabbed himself in the chest there in 2014.” – ML
Kansas: Stull’s Gateway to Hell
Why it’s creepy: Since being founded in 1856, the town of Stull has not had many inhabitants. However, from the select few who have ventured the region, Lucifer himself is fabled to have dwelt there. Many say they have seen him at the town’s cemetery on spring equinox and Halloween. Many believe that at the spot of a roofless church, Lucifer has a portal from and to Hell. It is rumored that this site draws the Devil himself because of the larger number of witch-hangings. Other rumors circulate about how one of the graves holds Satan’s own child.
Origin: “The first published article about the horrors are traced back to a 1974 article in the University Daily Kansan, though whispers about evil have persisted since 1900 or so. In 1998, the “hanging tree” was torn down to stop people from visiting. It hasn’t lessened the need for the small town to bolster an annual police presence to deter visitors looking for a glimpse of the Devil himself.” – AK
Kentucky: The Witch Girl of Pilot’s Knob
Why it’s creepy: Mary Evelyn Ford’s grave is an odd spectacle. There are a series of interlocking white crosses which form a fence around a pit of gravel. It is also creepy how the bars appear to be bent unnaturally from some places. Allegedly, in 1916, a mother and her daughter were both accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake. The mother’s burned remains were disposed of at a far flung location, whereas the daughter was buried in a steel-lined, stone-covered coffin that was encased in crosses so as to prevent her from escaping. Despite all these measures, people have witnessed tiny footprints in the gravel and even the ghost of a child attempting to escape from the gravesite.
Origin: “While stories about the gravesite go back decades, and naturally increased in detail with the growth of the internet, there’s not much evidence that anyone was burned at the stake for witchcraft in the area in 1916: even back then, that was generally big news. Mary Evelyn Ford really did die a tragic young death, but the stated cause of death is peritonitis, an inflammation of the stomach lining. It’s amazing what a truly unnerving gravesite can do for the imagination — we still wouldn’t want to be near it at night.” – ML
Louisiana: The Vampire Comte de Saint Germain
Why it’s creepy: Jacques Saint Germain is a bloodsucking vampire known to dwell in Louisiana. One of his favorite hobbies is luring young females and drinking their blood. Some people believe that he was born in the 1700s while others believe that he has been around since the time of Christ. He was thought to have died in 1783. Following his death, multiple people reported having seen him out and about until he returned in 1902 to terrorize New Orleans.
Origin: “Comte de Saint Germain was certainly a real person, alchemist, and all-round high-society snob who befriended a laundry list of famous 18th-century luminaries. He ran with crews including King Louis XV, Catherine the Great, and the philosopher Voltaire, who said he was “a man who never dies, and who knows everything.” He has been tied to several local murders, and in the 1970s a French psuedo-celeb named Richard Chanfray publicly claimed to be the infamous Saint Germain. But then, he died of a drug overdose in 1983. Or… did he? Well, he probably did.” – WF
Maine: Wood Island Light
Why it’s creepy: The lighthouse on Wood Island serves another purpose than to help ships navigate. It is notable for paranormal activity. From odd shadows to strange moans, plenty of people have noted witnessing paranormal activity. The activity is attributed to a murder-suicide which took place at the site decades ago.
Origin: “Howard Hobbs, a local fisherman and drifter, really did murder his landlord, Fred Milliken, on the Wood Island in 1896. Hobbs had been drinking and, after shooting Milliken, left the scene and turned his rifle on himself. You can read about the events of that day in all their 19th-century newspaper glory here. From ghost experts who weigh in on such things, Hobbs is generally considered the likeliest candidate to still be haunting the lighthouse.” – ML
Maryland: The Goatman
Why it’s creepy: The infamous Goatman of Maryland’s is notorious for eating dogs, killing teenagers and… screaming like a goat. The half-man half-goat’s origins are unknown. The USDA at some point had to make a public declaration that they did not “accidentally” create the monster in their Beltsville agricultural research center. According to legend, a goat farmer was fed up of the local teenagers who went crazy and killed his herd and in turn transformed into a deranged creature.
Origin: “Though the lore had been around for a while, the first recorded media mentions of the Goatman occurred in 1971, courtesy of writer Karen Hosler of the Prince George’s County News. The first was a deep dive into Maryland folklore, followed by an actual news item about a family blaming the brutal decapitation of their puppy on the Goatman… which they may or may not have just heard about via the County News. One month later The Washington Post ran a national feature detailing the legend of the Goatman. Ultimately, the Goatman has become one of America’s most persistent and well-known urban legends, with claimed sightings still occurring with regularity and cheesy fictionalizations still creepin’ out the Old Line State.” – WF
Massachusetts: The Curse of Giles Corey
Why it’s creepy: Giles Corey’s story is a grisly one. Apparently he was pressed to his death, slowly, under a pile of progressively heavier rocks so as to extract a confession. His curse still haunts the place to this day.
Origin: “Legend has it he uttered a curse against Salem right before his dying breath (you could understand why he’d have some ill will). For generations, his apparition has allegedly appeared in the cemetery before something terrible is about to happen, including a 1914 fire that burned down a sizable proportion of the city. There has also been a series of tragedies that have hit the Salem sheriff’s office (starting with the 1696 heart attack that killed George Corwin four years after he presided over the trials).” – ML
Michigan: Hell’s Bridge
Why it’s creepy: Near what is now the Algoma Township, according to lore, Elias Friske, a senile old preacher pied-pipered a group of tied children into the woods. After slaughtered them one after the other, he cast them into Cedar Creek. He was then caught and hung by the parents. But, that was only after he confessed that he was possessed by demons. Hell’s Bridge is currently a narrow and creaky metal footbridge crossing right through the middle of the woods. Those who cross it at night have reported hearing screams of children and at times are met with a black figure with glowing eyes.
Origin: “There is no record of an Elias Friske in the area, though there was a prominent Friske family beginning in the 1910s. Still, despite the lack of hard facts, anyone who’s visited the bridge will attest that there’s something out there, and it usually makes its presence known as you’re teetering on a shaky metal bridge in the moonlight.” – AK
Minnesota: The Hairy Man of Vergas Trail
Why it’s creepy: The woods of the Vergas Trail are haunted by an 8-foot, barefoot man who has a reputation for being unnaturally aggressive. However, some people, such as Ken Zitzow, refute the claims of any sightings and claim that the Hairy Man is an apparition. According to Zitzow, he returned from a drive in the woods with dents in on the hood of his car when the Hairy Man jumped onto his route and pummeled the car.
Origin: “Nobody really knows. Sightings trace back to the ’60s, had a significant increase in the ’70s, and still happen from time to time. Some say it’s a legend. Some say there was an old hermit living in the woods who wasn’t too keen on your rascally kids wandering his land. Others say the Hairy Man is real and point to a mysterious skull discovered in the Vergas Trail area that is human-like, but not hominid. It was discovered by a private citizen who didn’t turn it over, so no one knows if it’s human, Bigfoot, animal, or hoax.” – Dustin Nelson
Mississippi: The Three-Legged Lady of Nash Road
Why it’s creepy: The three-legged lady of Nash Road is known to follow those who drive down the road and bang on their vehicles. Out of her three limbs, one is rotten and it appears as if it was sewn back on. Multiple generations of Mississippians have reported to have seen her.
Origin: “From Robert Johnson selling his soul to the Yazoo Witch, many ghost stories in Mississippi persist, but the Three-Legged Lady gets points for changing to suit what scares you. Some say that extra leg was removed from a dead lover and attached to her body. Some believe she’s the ghost of a mother who got lost searching for her dismembered daughter after all she could find was a severed leg. Some say she wants to race you across a nearby bridge. Either way, turn off your headlights on a stretch of the road and don’t be surprised if you’re forced to confront the specter yourself.” – AK
Missouri: Zombie Road
Why it’s creepy: Just outside of St. Louis, the canopied and dark trail that runs through Wildwood, Missouri, is known for being the focus of eerie tales and legends for ages. Most often times, shadowy figures are reported to follow those who traverse the trail.
Origin: “Originally built as an access road for the gravel quarries along the Meramec River, the road fell into disuse and disrepair in the ’70s and saw an increase in teenagers flocking to the area to party/scare the crap out of each other. The origin stories of the trail’s haunting varies widely, from the kind of plausible (railway accidents, executed Civil War spies) to the more sensational (sadistic children’s hospital). Several years ago the pathway was paved so it might be used as a bike path, but that hasn’t done much to slow the legend. The police are doing their best, however.” – ML
Montana: The Hitchhiker of Black Horse Lake
Why it’s creepy: Hitchhikers are not a rare phenomenon on desolate stretches of highway. However, on Highway 87, many people have witnessed a native-American man wearing jeans with jet-black hair slam into their windshield while driving. The hitcher apparently appears out of nowhere and instantly bounces off the front of the car.
Origin: “Folklorists have traced the whole “vanishing hitchhiker” phenomenon back to the 19th century, though given the presence of denim reported by most who encounter the hitcher, we’re going to guess he met his demise in the ‘60s if he was real. Legends of wandering spirits of Native Americans are pretty prevalent in this part of the country, too, so chances are the hitcher lore and the native stuff just mated logically.” – AK
Nebraska: Seven Sisters Road
Why it’s creepy: Nebraska’s Seven Sisters Road is a rather unsettling place. Legend has it that a man who fell into a dispute with his family, took his 7 sisters, one on each of seven different hills and proceeded to hang them all from a different tree.
Origin: “The precise origins of the legend are unclear (sometimes it’s the father rather than the brother, depending on who’s telling the story) but it goes back long enough and is ingrained well enough in the local culture that it’s taken into account when making highway construction plans.” – ML
Nevada: Area 51
Why it’s creepy: Area 51 is notorious for its lore and creepy tales. From genetic experiments to time travel, and even alien autopsies, everything is known to be commonplace to Area 51. No one other than the high government really knows what traverses on in there.
Origin: “First off, Area 51 is a real, highly classified military base in the southern portion of Nevada; its purpose is publicly unknown. But in the early 1950s, in the infant stages of the Cold War, President Eisenhower approved plans to build the U-2 stealth plane and created Area 51 to house the development labs and test field. When reports of the — admittedly, spacecraft-looking — plane floated through the public and media, theories spread, and the conjecture around Roswell’s “alien crash” site only fanned the flames of speculation. From there, it’s been the epicenter for all US government suspicion.” – WF
New Hampshire: The Cursed Isles of Shoals
Why it’s creepy: Isles of Shoals off of the eastern shore of New Hampshire is renowned for a string of brutal murders. In the late 1870s, two young women were brutally butchered by a delirious madman with an axe. People have reported still hearing their screams in the dead of night. The island Smuttynose is noted for being haunted by ghosts from the axe murderer himself to poltergeists and even pirates.
Origin: “The islands have a history longer than the country they are in. Blackbeard himself was rumored to use the islands as a honeymoon destination and gold depository in the early 18th century — and naturally he killed some people there along the way. By the time Louis Wagner murdered the women living on Smuttynose, there were already ghost stories about the haunting chain of islands. With history, pirates, and of course, axe murders, come creepy tales. And again, the abandoned lighthouses don’t help.” – WF
New Jersey: The Watcher
Why it’s creepy: The Watcher is a legend that rose to fame in 2015. In the summer of 2015, in Westfield, a young family moved into a million-dollar house. It was not long before they began getting letters from someone who called himself “The Watcher”. He claimed to “watch over” the house and his letters contained questions such as “Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested?” and “Who has the bedrooms facing the street?”
Origin: “Is this a prank based off a weirdly accepted local legend? A media hoax? A way to drive down real-estate prices? It’s impossible to know, but I feel very weird. And somebody is still sending letters to inhabitants of the house. The debate and skepticism still burn in the creepiest corners of the internet, and while it’s a fairly “new” legend, it’s probably one of the scariest entries on this list, no matter what you believe.” – WF
New Mexico: Chupacabra
Why it’s creepy: New Mexico is ravaged by a rabid beast known to have glowing eyes and spikes on its back. It has the ability to fly and relishes in sucking the blood out of its victims, both animals and humans. It is fabled to be the size of a bear.
Origin: “Anyone who grew up in the Southwest knows about the legend of the Chupacabra — down there, it’s as big as Bigfoot, even if people can’t agree on what it looks like exactly. The first “sighting” happened in 1995 in Puerto Rico, and “eyewitness” accounts of “the goatsucker” have been a steady trope across Central America, reaching a heat in Mexico and the Southwest over the past two decades. New Mexico, in particular, has been the source of some notable Chupa-sightings. As recently as this summer, a treasure hunter claimed he found a genuine chupacabra skull in Las Vegas, NM.” – WF
New York: The Montauk Project
Why it’s creepy: The Montauk Project is an alleged series of government experiments conducted in the early ‘80s in Montauk. Apparently it serves as the main inspirations behind the TV show “Stranger Things.” From experimenting on children, psychological warfare, and opening portals to other dimensions, the level of creepiness associated with the place is unrivaled.
Origin: “While there were rumors circulating around shady government activity on the Southeastern tip of Long Island for nearly a decade prior, the legend wasn’t fully baked until the early 1990s, when Peter B. Nichols — a parapsychologist and electrical engineer — helped pen The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time, which detailed a slew of salacious “repressed memories” from his days working in Montauk, corroborated by other “colleagues.” The book detailed time warps to Mars, genetic experiments, and Eleven-esque psychic child spies. The Montauk Project itself is said to be a piece of a larger psychological warfare conspiracy called The Philadelphia Experiment, which naturally, inspired its own film too.” – WF
North Carolina: The Beast of Bladenboro
Why it’s creepy: The Bear of Bladenboro is rumored to be a gigantic and even vampiric feline-beast which is also part bear. It brutally murders animals as well as humans and everyone who falls to be its victim.
Origin: “In 1954 a string of mysterious, gruesome deaths began to hit animals in and around Bladenboro, North Carolina — broken jaws, crushed heads, and even reports of blood completely drained from bodies. Eyewitness accounts varied, but seemed to point to something vaguely feline in nature, but also larger and more powerful. The story made the national news, and there were multiple hunting parties that attempted to catch the beast. They never did, but the killings eventually stopped. At least for now.” – ML
North Dakota: The Gates of Hell
Why it’s creepy: North Dakota is abundant with empty and abandoned settlements that fell empty after the railroad boom. Tagus, was previously believed to have housed a Lutheran church which later became a hotbed for Satan worship. According to legend, the place burned down. However, standing at specific places will have you hearing resonating screams which are rumored to have come from hell itself. People have also reported witnessing ghost trains, glowing gravestones and even hellhounds.
Origin: “The Satanism business dates back to the Satanic Panic of the ‘80s, though Tagus been spooky since its founding in 1900, and ever since the late ‘80s — when hundreds of high-schoolers turned up for a vandalism-intensive Halloween party were run out of the ghost town — visitors have been met with extreme skepticism. The city’s last church burned to the ground in 2001.” – AK
Why it’s creepy: Legend has it that the Melonheads are sickly, pale genetically engineered children that have razor-sharp teeth and huge heads. These creatures revel in killing babies and infants.
Origin: “Riffs on the tale also exist in Michigan and Connecticut, but the Ohioan case is particularly compelling. These Melonheads haunt the woods of Kirkland, and are apparently the adopted children of a unscrupulous doctor who used the pre-Melonheads to test new medical and surgical methods… with not-so-great results. In some versions of the tale, the kids are more likely to scurry away like chipmunks than bite your face off. In others, they are just ghosts of the kids. One thing is certain: They definitely inspired one very campy, hyper-local horror movie.” – WF
Oklahoma: The Skirvin Hotel
Why it’s creepy: The Skirvin Hotel is Oklahoma’s equivalent to The Shining’s hotel. A luxurious hotel, its inhabitants report hearing crying babies, slamming doors, a ghost that gropes people while they shower and even the ghost of the original owner’s mistress. Apparently, he passed away with his illegitimate child and roams the halls with a stroller to this day.
Origin: “The place was built in 1911, and shortly thereafter original owner Fred Scheruble was shot to death, but not before allegedly impregnating a maid who perished on the 10th floor. It’s been downhill from there… even a renovation in the early ‘90s didn’t scrub the supernatural from the most haunted hotel in Oklahoma.” – AK
Oregon: The Bandage Man of Cannon Beach
Why it’s creepy: Near the coast town of Cannon Beach, the Bandage Man haunts a lonely highway. Known to be a pervy ghost, he likes to mess with rowdy teenagers making out in their cars. However, at times it even consumes dogs that walk the wind-swept roadside. Some people have even reported the apparition to hop in the back of their sedans and pickups, instantly filling the car with the smell of rotting flesh.
Origin: “The Bandage Man — most popularly a logger hacked up at the nearby mill — made his earliest documented appearance in the ‘50s, and he was likely a spook story told around beach bonfires by teens weaned on monster movies (thus, the silly mummy-like roots). Still, after hearing that tale late at night then retiring to the confines of a secluded road for a little third-base action, it’s a story that carries enough creepy weight to seriously kill the mood, which is why it’s persisted for decades.” – AK
Pennsylvania: Charlie No-Face
Why it’s creepy: Charlie No-Face is also known as the Glowing Green Man. According to lore, he lost his face in an accident which turned him radioactive – probably why he glows a toxic green. He is known to stalk the Western Pennsylvanian highways at night. Visitors mostly reported seeing him at Piney Fork Tunnel, an abandoned freight tunnel in Hillsville. Rumor has it that when he touches your car, it instantly stalls and then he hangs onto his victims for the rest of their lives.
Origin: “Ray Robinson was a real man. As a child in 1919, he was severely electrocuted by a trolly wire while peering into a bird’s nest, which practically melted and disfigured his entire face. As an adult, Robinson walked Western Pennsylvanian highways (Route 351 to be exact), but only at night, as his shocking visage garnered unwanted attention. His “glowing” appearance is likely due to the petroleum jelly he needed to coat his damaged skin. Those who know him claim he was incredibly sweet, though profoundly isolated. And no, he has nothing to do with Pennsylvania’s OTHER “Green Man.”” – WF
Rhode Island: Mercy Brown
Why it’s creepy: The tale of Mercy Brown is one of the many legends that haunt Rhode Island. 19-year old Mercy Brown fell victim to a vampire panic. Mercy succumbed to tuberculosis after it took her sister’s and mother’s lives. A lot of the townsfolk presumed the activity was due to a supernatural entity. After exhuming her Mercy’s body, it remained well preserved. In order to halt the epidemic, the villagers removed her liver and heart, burned them to ash, and fed them to her ailing brother. Two months later, he died, too. It is rumored that Mercy’s spirit still haunts the Exeter cemetery where she was bruied.
Origin: “Historical fact… Mercy Brown died on January 17, 1892, and her cremated heart was force-fed to her brother. Her story is the most famous of many similarly gruesome tales that stoke the fires of Rhode Island’s haunted landscape.” – AK
South Carolina: Boo Hags
Why it’s creepy: Boo hags are skinless creatures that go into people’s houses in the lower country and climb onto their chests. They then proceed to sucking out their breath and in turn they gain vitality. They also sometimes skin their victims and wear their skin to stay warm.
Origin: “Boo hags are a fixture of Gullah or Geechee culture prevalent in coastal lowcountry areas populated by African-American descendants of slavery. The creatures are among the most horrifying and unsettling among a rich folkloric history, yet seem tame when compared to the true atrocities of the region that birthed them.” – AK
South Dakota: Walking Sam
Why it’s creepy: The Walking Sam figure is attributed to a series of suicides – 103 as of December 2014 – on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. People claim to witness a shadowy slender figure that appears before them and commands them to kill themselves. The first string of suicides occurred in 2013 where five Oglala Sioux tribe members killed themselves. The suicide rate continued to rise until in 2015 the Oglala Sioux tribe Vice President Thomas Poor Bear found photos on Facebook showing nooses from trees which revealed plans behind a group suicide.
Origin: “The specter archetype that Walking Sam is based on has roots starting with the good old-fashioned boogeyman and working all the way down to the ‘Slender Man told me to do it’ folklore of 2008. The idea of shadow people is also a pretty old-school urban legend going back further than history can care to track. However, the character of Walking Sam himself has existed among the Lakota and Dakota Native American tribes for some time now, with a record of him being described in Peter Matthiessen’s In the Spirit of Crazy Horse back in 1980. Sometimes known as “Stovepipe Hat Bigfoot” or “Taku-he”, the character’s been spotted by South Dakota Sioux and Little Eagle tribes as far back as 1974.” – JA
Tennessee: The Bell Witch
Why it’s creepy: The hauntings of a Tennessee family by a witch-like spirit attracted plenty of attention and eventually the soon-to-be president Andrew Jackson visited. Jackson claims to have spoken to the witch and soon after he left the town. However, a cave near the site is thought to act as a portal for the witch.
Origin: “Probably hell, but more factually, the haunting of the Bell family began in 1817 after the father, John Bell, witnessed some sort of rabbit-headed dog in his field and tried to shoot it. From that night on the family experienced tappings on the doors and windows, sheets slowly being pulled off beds, and eventually the voice of a woman named Kate who was dead set on destroying the family. After years of torment, John Bell died in 1820, after which the family found a small vial of liquid near his deathbed. Kate, the Bell Witch, proudly proclaimed she gave John the poison that finished him off.” – Tanner Saunders
Texas: Black-Eyed Children
Why it’s creepy: The Black-Eyed Children are frequently seen wandering around the place totally normal and non-threatening. They are rumored to corner their victims and and ask for cash or a ride home.
Origin: “The first documented case of the Black-Eye Children came in 1996 from reporter Brian Bethel, who had pulled his car into the parking lot of an Abilene movie theater to use the bright marquee light to write a check. While filling out the check, two young kids who Bethel claims were between 9-12 approached the car, knocked on the window and asked for a ride home to grab cash to come back for movie. The children, who totally unnerved Bethel, claimed they didn’t have a gun (weird, right?) before making eye contact and revealing coal-black eyes that Bethel later described as “the sort of eyes one sees these days on aliens or bargain-basement vampires on late night television.””- TS
Utah: Escalante Petrified Forest Curse
Why it’s creepy: Many visitors love taking souvenirs from the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. However, they will always mail them back due to the curses that follow them after. The letters include harrying instances of terrible accidents, broken bones, mysterious illnesses and financial ruin.
Origin: “Many people have — and still do — mail back cursed pieces of the petrified wood, and the park even displays the letters and samples openly as an attraction. Apparently, there have been cases of stolen wood turning to bad luck since the 1930s, though it’s unclear the actual root of the curse. Maybe it’s the burden of moral ambiguity affecting other areas of life? Maybe it’s just coincidence? Either way, it’s not worth risking your collarbone.” – WF
Vermont: The Hayden Family Curse
Why it’s creepy: In Albany, William Hayden was a wealthy landowner in the early 1800s. However he owes his fortune to handsome loan he acquired from his mother-in-law and allegedly never paid back. After much insistence and complaints, she mysteriously fell ill and accused William of poisoning her. On her deathbed, she said “The Hayden name shall die in the third generation and the last to bear the name shall die in poverty,” in her last breaths. The Hayden family then became plagued with illnesses and financial distress and within 100 years was completely wiped out. Their estate is known to be a hotbed for paranormal activity and apparitions.
Origin: “In some versions, William Hayden was a Gatsby-esque party boy who quite knowingly blew all his mother-in-law’s funds on lavish parties and ornate decorations for his home, building the family’s local fame and infamy… which probably just fueled the rumor mill. And when all the Haydens died, a wealthy Canadian family moved in their mansion and allegedly used the home for bootlegging and smuggling Chinese immigrants for slave labor. So yeah, even if the curse ISN’T real, the house itself still has some dark history.” – WF
Virginia: The Bunny Man Bridge
Why it’s creepy: In 1970, many people reported to the police to have seen a haunting man wielding an axe clad in a bunny suit. A few individuals even reported that the man threw the axe at them for trespassing. To date, many people have witnessed dead rabbits randomly appearing in the woods surrounding Fairfax Bridge. It is known as “The Bunny Man Bridge,” and a creepy white figure regularly appears under the bridge late at night.
Origin: “Legend says that in 1904, a group of convicts were piled onto a bus to be transported from an asylum in Clifton, Virginia to a nearby prison. En route, one of the buses crashed, the convicts managed to escape, and the police were able to round up all but one of the convicts. As their search went on, they began to find skinned, half-eaten bunnies in the woods and hanging from the overpass of Fairfax Bridge, now known as “The Bunny Man Bridge.” A year later, on Halloween Night, several teens went to hang out under the bridge: Come morning they were all found dead. It is said that if you hang out under the bridge on Halloween Night, you will meet the same fate as the rabbits and the teenagers.” – Sylvie Borschel
Washington: The 13 Steps to Hell
Why it’s creepy: The Maltby Cemetery has plenty of satanic rumors associating with it. Allegedly it even includes a subterranean tomb for a creepy rich family and it can only be accessed via 13 steps. Legend has it that these steps lead directly to Hell.
Origin: “The cemetery’s been around since 1901, though the crypt itself’s date has been lost to time… as have the stairs themselves, which have been bulldozed and covered in concrete. That hasn’t stopped curious paranormal masochists from trespassing on the secluded private property, allegedly showing up at the cemetery at night eager to unearth it via nocturnal excavation missions… and being greeted by the cemetery’s other apparitions.” – AK
West Virginia: Mothman
Why It’s creepy: The Mothman was first sighted in 1966 in a newspaper article with the headline: “Couples See Man-Sized Bird… Creature… Something.” Residents are unsure whether the flying creature is an alien or a demon or even a genetic experiment gone wrong. To this day, Mothman sightings regularly occur and make the news.
Origin: “The myth dates back to that initial newspaper piece, but the legend has been long propagated in pop culture — inspiring a horror novel and the subsequent Richard Gere film adaptation. In Point Pleasant, where the original incident was recorded, there’s a Mothman museum, a Mothman Festival, and a sizable statue. The Mothman has become big business, and if nothing else, he clearly paved the way for tabloid darling, the Bat Child.” – WF
Wisconsin: The Rhinelander Hodag
Why it’s creepy: The Rhinelander Hodag is a small creature which doubles as a frightening demon. It is fabled to be covered in spikes. Many people claim that it is the size of a dog and can even grow to six-feet long. A legend from 1928 describes the creature as having saber-tooth tiger-like fangs, the head of a frog, a dinosaur-like plated back, thick legs with large claws and a long speared tail. It emits a skunk-like stench and is not really a threat to humans.
Origin: “The green devil was “discovered” in 1893 by developer Eugene Shepard and almost instantly became a fixture of north Wisconsin folklore. Three years later, Shepard claimed he caught another and put it on display at the 1896 Oneida County Fair. He had knocked it out with chloroform so, of course, it was sleeping. But he had wires hooked up to the fake animal to make it move occasionally. Word spread fast and the Smithsonian sent a reporter to look into the hodag. Shepard quickly admitted it was a fraud. Rhinelander never let go, though. It’s the high school mascot and there are multiple statues of the beast around town.” – DN
Wyoming: The Platte River Ship of Death
Why it’s creepy: One of most creepy legends of Wyoming is that of a ghost ship which materialized out of a spectral fog on the Platte River. Upon the old sailboat’s deck, the cursed crew huddles around a body. If you stare for too long, the body is revealed to be of a still-living loved one. The victim then dies soon after.
Origin: “The ship was first reportedly spotted in 1892 by a trapper named Leon Weber, whose girlfriend died shortly after he envisioned her on the cursed deck. Legend has it that the last documented sighting claimed the life of a lumberjack’s friend back in 1903. There have been no “official” sightings since, though you could forgive people for getting the hell away from the river as soon as the fog rolls in.” – MK
America is a place that is full of lore and legends. Some of the creepiest tales comes from ages old urban legends that haunt the country to this day. Rooted in communities all across the US, these legends exist to warn visitors of the harrowing incidents that took place there in the pages of history. Wherever, you may be or live, there is an eerie legend to follow you around.