Somehow it seems that adding the exclamation mark at the end makes the title a lot less dramatic as it is supposed to. The idea of urban legends is to underplay horror in order to induce a creeping sensation of fear. I’m unfortunately not an expert on urban legends, mainly because they’re too scary for me. However, I find it interesting that urban legends can originate from many countries, and also be adapted to suit the cultures of different countries, giving them a retell value. Wikipedia has guided me to the most popular urban legends, which you may already know of.
1. Bloody Mary
This is one that even I have heard of. So the Bloody Mary is a legendary ghost who reveals the future. She will appear in a mirror if you call her name multiple times. But what does she do when she appears? Does she foretell the future? Well, in ancient times, young women were supposed to walk up the stairs backwards while holding a candle and a hand mirror in a dark house. And while gazing into the mirror, they will see their future husband’s face. There is however also a chance that they see the Grim Reaper’s face — a skull — indicating that they were destined to die before they married.
Currently, the ritual varies. People shouldn’t look for Bloody Mary consciously but should look for their own reflection, or should spin a number of times, or should say, “I got your baby”. Wait, what baby? Well, Bloody Mary may be derived from Queen Mary I, who apparently had a number of miscarriages and false pregnancies. Why, aren’t we mean to this poor woman! It will explain why Bloody Mary is usually not too happy to see us, and when she is summoned properly, she will scream at you, curse you, strangle you, steal your soul or drink your blood. Serves you right for being mean to somebody who only wants to mind her own business! Sometimes I think ghosts have their own urban legends of spiteful humans.
And who knows why they decided to name that liquor after her. Probably trying to destroy her innocence and chastity as well.
2. The Licked Hand
Ooh this one is creepy. There is apparently this town and a woman who stays alone with her dog finds out from the radio that there is a serial killer on the loose. She locks up her doors and windows and takes her dog to her bedroom to sleep with her. In the middle of the night, she wakes up and hears a dripping sound. She is too terrified to investigate, and her bedside lamp doesn’t seem to work. She puts her hand down where her dog is and feels a lick to her hand. So periodically there’ll be heavy breathing and gentle licks on her hand, all the while with the dripping sound. But we know dogs are reassuring loyal creatures, and so she falls asleep.
When she wakes up the next day, she finds that her dog has been slaughtered! And on the wall, written in blood, she sees “HUMANS CAN LICK TOO”.
This story is scary because a dog died.
Who cares about serial murderers who lick hands anyway? Imagine breaking into a secure house after so much effort and for the whole night you lie on the floor and lick a hand. Not even the bed. You don’t get to share a bed with the woman. You lie down on the floor. Imagine the backache you’ll get the next day.
Hahaha. I am laughing very nervously now.
3. The Spider Bite
This is a tale that happened in Europe in the 1970’s. There’s not much of a story to it, but it’s about a woman who was bitten on the cheek by a spider while on vacation in an exotic southern location like Mexico or South America. The bite swells into a boil and the boil bursts to reveal hundreds of tiny spiders escaping from her cheek. Because spiders think that the human face is a perfect place to incubate their eggs.
Have you heard the horror story of a bird which left its droppings on a human head?
4. Vanishing Hitchhiker
This is even less of a story. Basically a car picks up a hitchhiker but the hitchhiker disappears while the car is moving, or when the car has reached the destination. Creepy, yeah, but with no lasting malevolent results.
For the longest time I thought a chupacabra was the name of a genuine animal, but no. The chupacabra lives in the Americas — mostly the Latin American countries — which drinks the blood of livestock, especially goats. It is a heavy animal the size of a bear, with spines from the neck to the back of its tail. So yup, no threat to humans, except in competing with them to be at the top of the food chain. Even the most frightening animal knows better than to attack humans, it seems. Almost as smart as that serial killer in The Licked Hand. Maybe the killer was a literate chupacabra.
But that’s about it for the more common urban legends out there! There is a Japanese legend named Hanako-san, I believe, which is similar to Bloody Mary. And of course there are many other exciting ones. Remember not to read them too late at night or you’ll get nightmares~!