Whether it’s an unsolved mystery, a popular misconception, or sometimes just a big hoax, urban legends are an inevitable part of any culture. Told around campfires, at parties, or in casual conversation, these myths still find a way to be handed down from generation to generation. Even with the resources at our finger tips, many urban legends refuse to be stamped out. Often, they have their origin in some vaguely twisted version of a true story which only make them sound reasonable and true. Regardless of their veracity, they make for a good tale around the fire. Here are the 15 Most Popular Urban Legends Still Being Told.
Walt Disney is Cryogenically Frozen
This is another one of those popular stories that most of us have probably heard. It says Walt Disney supposedly had his dead body frozen in hopes that future technology could bring him back to life. Unfortunately for all the gossip magazines though, records show that Disney was cremated in 1966.
This one tells of how several alligators were brought up from Florida to be kept as pets in New York City. After they got too big and violent, they escaped into the sewers where they now live freely. Dating back to the 1930’s and spread by sensationalist newspapers, the story is completely untrue yet continues to be circulated to this day.
The Vanishing Hitchhiker
Possibly one of the oldest urban legends still being told, this one tells of a motorist who picks up a female hitchhiker on a lonely stretch of road. He drives her home only to find that she has disappeared from his backseat. After knocking on her door, he is told the girl died in a car accident years ago in the very same spot that he picked her up.
The Kidney Heist
Immortalized on TV and the internet, this legend dates back to 1997 when an email was circulated warning people of a crazy new crime wave catching on in big cities. It usually involves a traveling business man being bought drinks by a stranger only to wake up in a tub covered in ice with a phone next to him, telling him to call 911. Covered in blood he later learns that his kidney was removed by criminals who intend to sell it on the black market. Although the story almost sounds feasible, even after the National Kidney Foundation asked victims to contact them, no one has come forward and the email has been written off as a hoax.
The Killer in the Backseat
This one never seems to die. It tells the story of a woman who is driving down a dark road at night only to have a strange car pull up behind her and start flashing its lights. As she takes off on her exit and approaches her home, the stranger continues to follow her. She pulls up in her driveway ready to make a mad dash to her front door, only to hear the stranger behind her get out of his car and yell to her to lock her door and call 911. Only after the police arrive does she learn that the stranger was actually trying to protect her. In her backseat was a man holding a butcher knife, ready to stab her to death. The stranger had noticed his shadowy form and started flashing his lights to get her attention after which the figure slouched back down in the seat.
Babysitter and the Man Upstairs
In this one, a baby sitter starts getting phone calls from a strange man asking her questions that get progressively more personal and conclude with whether or not she has checked the children. She ends up calling the police who proceed to trace the stranger’s call. They immediately call the babysitter back and tell her to get the kids out of the house immediately because the calls are coming from within the house. At this moment, police arrive to find a man in the upstairs room where the kids are sleeping, but it is already too late as all of the kids have been brutally murdered.
Hawaiian Night Marchers
Do you have a trip to Hawaii planned anytime soon? If so, you’ll want to know about the Night Marchers. They are spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors who march around protecting sacred sites. While they aren’t evil, don’t look directly at a Night Marcher, lest you be marked for death, and if you find yourself in the middle of a night march procession, lie down in the middle of the road. How do you know a procession is coming? Pay attention for torches and drums.
Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On The Light?
Widely circulated on college campuses, this legend tells of two girls about to have a big test the next day. One of the girls gets invited to a party the night before and when she returns to her dorm room, she doesn’t want to wake her friend so she goes straight to bed. When she wakes up in the morning, she rolls over to find her friend had been brutally murdered during the night. Written on the wall in blood is the phrase, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights?”
The Jedi Religion Form
This far-reaching hoax claims that if enough people fill out “Jedi” as their religion on their census forms, the government will have to make it an official religion. In fact, at one point thousands of people tried to do just that but to no avail. Just because a large number of people check something on a census form is not grounds for introducing it as “official.”
Snuff films are movies where a person is murdered during the course of filming. Usually they are said to be funded by twisted rich people, but as of yet, not a single snuff film has been legitimately found in spite of numerous rewards going to anyone with information on their production.
The 9/11 Tourist Guy
Shortly after 9/11 a photo circulated showing a tourist standing on top one of the World Trade Center towers with one of the airplanes in the background of the shot about to strike the tower. The accompanying story explained how the camera was found in the wreckage but the tourist remained missing. Aside from all of the very inconsistent details in the picture, the story already seemed completely improbable, and several people came forward claiming to be the prankster responsible. It wasn’t until recently, however, that the real culprit was discovered in Hungary. He has since apologized to the families for making light of their situation.
Yes, there is a town in Japan called Usa. No, the Japanese did not rename it after World War II so that they could legitimately stamp their exports with the phrase “Made in USA.”
The Poisonous Daddy Long Legs
There has been a persistent rumor circulating for some time that the daddy long legs spider is the most poisonous in the world but cannot kill humans because its fangs are too small. Where this rumor started no one knows, but one thing is for sure, the daddy long legs is certainly not the most poisonous spider in the world. If you’re going to be careful around spiders, we would advise keeping your eyes open for the brown recluse or the funnel web spider.
This legend tells of a young boy and girl who drive off into the woods only to hear on the radio that a convicted killer with a hook for one of his arms has just escaped from a nearby mental facility. The boy simply locks the car door and insists they stay, but the girl wants to leave. The boy reluctantly drives away and when they return home, depending on the version of the story, there is a bloody hook hanging on the outside handle of the car door.
The Boyfriend’s Death
Very similar in style to the previous story, this legend also involves two young lovers stopped on an abandoned country road. The boyfriend gets out of the car to use the bathroom but doesn’t come back for some time. The girl gets out and looks for him only to see a dark figure in the shadows. She runs back to the car and starts it but realizes that the back bumper has been tied to a tree. She hears a scream and after turning around, sees her boyfriend hanging from the tree.