“It’s true…I heard it from a friend of a friend of mine.” So ends a dramatic, and often, terrifying story. Whether told around a campfire, the water cooler or during a weekend slumber party, these legendary tales of missing children, ghosts in the night or thwarted serial killers send delicious shivers down the spine. Repeated countless times, in various ways and set in numerous locations, urban legends are proof that we love to be petrified.

15 Urban Legends to Horrify and Thrill You

Every community has a local urban legend, but there are some that are so terrifying, so fantastic that they resonate around the world, re-told in a thousand different ways. These are 15 of the best urban legends from around the globe.

Where The Wild Roses Grow

Tops out list of urban legends is the story of Elisa Day. Elisa Day was said to be as lovely as the wild roses that grew by the river. She lived in medieval Europe and was the belle of the county. Then, a stranger came to town and was instantly smitten with the beautiful Elisa, making him determined to possess her. On the first day, he called by her house. On the next day, he brought her a single rose and coyly asked her to meet him “where the wild roses grow”. On the third day, the lovely Elisa was cold and dead in the river, with a single rose in her mouth. She had been struck from behind by her captivated suitor, who twistedly believed that nothing so beautiful could be allowed to live.


The White Death

A young girl in Scotland was miserable. She hated life so much that she was determined to erase herself from existence and eventually, she tragically took her own life. But her family soon discovered what she had done. Within days, the entire family had been killed in a gruesome fashion. No one must know. Now, there are legends in Scotland that say that the White Death is determined to protect her secret. If anyone hears the story, she will come looking for them. She will knock on the door, knock, knock, knock, until you open up and let her in.


Am I Pretty?

Have you heard about this one of the oldest urban legend in Japan and China? It tells a legend of a beautiful woman named Kuchisake-Onna, the wife of a samurai warrior. One terrible day, her husband discovers she has been having an affair and punishes her by slitting her mouth from ear to ear. Kuchisake-Onna disappeared, but now rumors swirl of an attractive woman who approaches strangers and asks, “Am I pretty?” She then removes her lovely mask, revealing the horrific scars beneath. Again she will ask, “Am I pretty?” Woe to any person who doesn’t reassure her fast enough that she is still beautiful, terrible scars and all.


If You Go Down In The Woods Today...

An amorous couple has snuck off for a rendezvous in the dark woods of Northern France. Elated to be alone, they at first pay no attention to the radio. But then a news bulletin is repeatedly broadcast and the young woman turns up the volume. A dangerous criminal has escaped from prison and has been terrorizing the local area. Police say he is hiding in the woods and can be identified by the hook he has in place of his left hand. Horrified, she asks to leave immediately. The young man locks the doors and insists they are safe, but she is adamant they return to town. In front of her house, the woman gets out of the car, closes the door…and sees a hook embedded in the car door.


Check For A Pulse

The wife of an elderly man passes away after a long illness, leaving the poor man stricken with grief. He denies that his wife is gone, insisting she is still alive. Putting his ranting down to extreme anguish, they go ahead and bury the woman in the family plot at the bottom of the old man’s estate. But the old man is struck with nightmares of his wife who’s in the dream still alive and desperate to escape her tomb. Eventually, the family agrees to exhume the body just to settle the old man’s nerves. When they open the coffin, they find the old lady is indeed dead, but there are fingernail scratches on the inside of the lid.


Be Careful What You Watch

A group of high school girls are at their local video shop, arguing over movies. They notice a blank video near the cash register, and on a whim, decide to steal it. Giggling with delight, they run back home and press “Play”. Suddenly, the power goes out, but the movie starts playing. Disturbing images confront them - a woman being burnt at the stake. She screams that anyone who witnesses her death will be dead within 2 days. Disgusted, the girls destroy the video. Within 48 hours, all the girls have been killed in a multi-vehicle accident. But the strange part is the second vehicle was never found.


Beware of The Green Man

In 1918, a young Pennsylvanian boy named Raymond Robinson was attempting to see into a birds nest when he struck electrical lines that were connected to the local bridge. To the amazement of doctors, young Raymond lived, but he would do so at a price, losing an arm, his nose, an ear and his eyes, as well as receiving horrific scarring. During the decades that followed, an urban legend sprung up amongst the people of Western Pennsylvania that a terribly disfigured “Green Man” who would wander the streets at night. Little did the majority realize that this was poor Raymond Robinson, taking walks at night so that he wouldn’t panic crowds with his appearance.


Never Play on the Tracks

It’s a sunny school day in San Antonio, Texas during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. A bus, loaded with small children, is heading towards the local elementary school, when suddenly, it stalls across train tracks. Out of nowhere, a train appears and collides with the school bus, killing everyone on board. Today, they say that if you stop your car too close to the tracks and leave it in neutral, it will start to roll out of harm’s way…uphill. They say it’s the ghosts of those children who died in the bus crash, pushing your car to safety and ensuring that no one else ever meets their fate.


For King and Country

A handsome Greek soldier was returning home from the hell of World War II, his thoughts were all on his beautiful fiancée whom he would soon be taking home as his wife. From nowhere, he was attacked by fellow Greeks with opposing political views, who tortured him mercilessly for 5 weeks before murdering him in cold blood. This would have been the end of the story, but in the 1950’s in rural Greece, multiple stories began to emerge of a handsome Greek in uniform who was seducing widows and virgins, leaving many pregnant. After the baby was born, the soldier would disappear, leaving a note instructing his sons to avenge his murder.


The Well to Hell

This story could secure a spot on the list of urban legends because of the fears it brings. In the depths of Siberia, in 1989, Russian scientists drilled a bore hole over 14 kilometers deep, straight down into the earth’s crust. The drill broke through into a void, so the men of science lowered in some technical equipment to take readings. They determined that the temperature was over 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, a detail that was almost forgotten in the horror that followed. For 17 chilling seconds, their microphone broadcast what sounded like tortured screams, convincing the Russians that they had plumbed the depths of Hell itself. Later that night, the terrified scientists observed a gigantic gas bubble burst free from the bore hole. Some say it was just a natural phenomenon, while others say it was in the shape of an unholy winged creature.


Perhaps We Are Not Alone

Fortunato Zanfretta was an Italian man who famously related his experiences of repeated alien abductions between 1978 and 1981. The aliens, known as Dagos from the planet Teetonia, were reportedly interested in befriending the inhabitants of planet Earth, but Zanfretta told them this was not possible as their appearance was too frightening. Whilst many would laugh these allegations off as the ramblings of a crazy man, Fortunato Zanfretta revealed this information under hypnosis…a medium that prevents you from lying. His meticulous revelations whilst under hypnosis have been so thorough, so rich in detail that even the most cynical skeptics have paused to consider his story.


Mama Says You Shouldn't Ride With Strangers

A service station attendant remarks on the haste of a woman as she is paying for gas. Apologizing, she explains she is on her way to pick up her daughter from school. A man standing nearby interjects that he himself was heading to an urgent appointment that way, but his car has broken down. Could she give him a lift? The woman agrees, taking his briefcase to the car whilst he uses the rest room. On getting in the car, she realizes she is already late and drives off. Later that day, feeling terrible for abandoning the poor man, she checks his briefcase for ID. But all she finds is a role of duct tape and a large bloody knife.


Not Suitable For Animal Consumption

Here's another one of the scary urban legends you may not heard. A couple in Sydney, Australia, return home after a late night out, to discover their pet Doberman is choking. Horrified, they race the dog down to the local 24 hour vet and leave him in their capable care. Just as they walk back into their home, the phone rings. It’s the vet and she is screaming at them to get out of the house and call the police. She managed to save the Doberman, but once she extracted the choking hazard, she realized it was a human finger. The police arrive, and upon searching the house, they find an armed burglar crouched in the couple’s closet, clutching the bloody stump where his right index finger used to be.


Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed?

A couple takes a romantic weekend vacation to an idyllic little hotel in the country. They are full of plans and excitement, discussing where they will visit and what they will see. But on entering their lovely hotel room, they are struck by a smell. The woman wants to ask to switch rooms, but the man thinks maybe the room just needs some air. They open the window and then take a walk, to let the smell dissipate. But on returning, it is even worse. This time, they call the reception, explain the problem and ask for a new room. They later see the same hotel they were staying in the news. A body was discovered under one of the beds after a terrible smell was reported by guests…


Bangkok Nightmare

A man is away on business, enjoying all the exciting nightlife that a Southeast Asian city, such as Bangkok, has to offer. An attractive woman approaches and offers to buy the man a drink. Flattered, he agrees and soon they are laughing together over scotch on the rocks…Later, the man wakes up, but the woman is nowhere to be seen. He is in a bath tub filled with ice. Looking down, he sees what looks like medical tubing emerging from his lower back. Panicked, he calls emergency services. They tell him not to move, help is on the way. Then they tell him, they’ve seen this before…when criminals steal kidneys.


Please Log In or add your name and email to post the comment.