19 Terrifying Tales Of Urban Legends Coming To Life

via Flickr - Moyan Brenn
via Flickr – Moyan Brenn


I’ve tried to forget this for years. In high school my buddies and I used to country cruise in the backwoods to a spot called “Witches Cove” It was a small valley surrounded by woods next to a one lane cobblestone bridge. Rumor had it devil worshipers did rituals under the bridge.

We’d been there dozens of times to smoke and drink without seeing anyone, but one night we pulled up and there was a bonfire in the valley. There were people dancing around the fire and jumping thru it. Some were naked. We got out and approached them, thinking they were partying. One guy walked up and addressed us all by our names, but we didn’t know who he was. He asked “do you believe in God?” We all shrugged our shoulders and said yes. He laughed at us and said we better leave.

Being immediately creeped out, we got in the car and left. My buddy sitting in the passenger seat jumped and screamed “wtf is that” pointing next to our car. It was hard to see because there were tall weeds growing next to the road, but it looked like someone was crawling on all fours next to our car going 35-40mph. It was so fast it passed us.

We were flipping out and we eventually came to a stop in the road. As we were about to stop, we saw the same guy who approached us at the bonfire, standing by the stop sign smiling at us. At that point, we did about 85mph all the way back to town. One of my friends was so scared he went home and had his folks call their pastor to come over and pray with/for him. Of course, everyone at school said we were just high or drunk. Even my own folks didn’t believe me.

I tried for years to rationalize and make logical conclusions about what happened, saying I was drunk, or it was a dog crawling by us, or it was a different person standing at the stop sign, but it still gives me goose bumps remembering it.

2. The Hitchhiker In The Old Suit

So, I had a football coach back in high school who was also one of my teachers for a semester. He told us one story that freaked us all out pretty bad.

He had a coaching job at a small college in Montana when he was a lot younger and newly married. He said that after practice one evening, he was making his long commute home, and the route ran alongside just fields and fields of hay, grain, whatever. Since it was late summer/early fall, it wasn’t even approaching dark yet. His car was an old beat up truck with just a bench seat.

Anyway, he’s driving along when he sees a hitchhiker on the shoulder. This being back in the day and in small-town Montana, my teacher pulled over to let the guy in without a second thought. The man was described as wearing a really old, outdated style of suit. Not quite a zoot suit, but styled in a similar, baggy way. He also had a big, stylish hat. This guy looked like he was out of the 40’s, and “sort of like a pimp”. My teacher thought it was weird that he was so overdressed, it being super hot out. But maybe that was the only clothing he had.

So the guy gets in next to my teacher without a word. Teacher asks him where he needs to go, and the guy just points forward. Teacher drives on.

Later, my teacher tried talking to the guy, just trying to make simple conversation, but the guy wouldn’t speak or even acknowledge him. He just pulled his hat down like he was sleeping.

Out of nowhere, the guy just tips up his hat, looks out the window, and says “Stop the car, Now.” My teacher pulls over and lets him out, not wanting to offend a possibly crazy man. The guy stands on the side of the road for a second, and then at a dead sprint, just runs off into the field beside the road, until my teacher couldn’t see him anymore (granted the crop was fairly tall). He waits there for a while, thinking maybe the guy had the runs or something and didn’t want to shit next to the road. After a long enough wait, my teacher gets back in the truck and starts to accelerate back on to the road.

The thing about really old trucks is that they don’t accelerate very fast. As my teacher got back on to the road, he looked in his rearview mirror to check for a safe merge. But there wasn’t a car in sight. What there was, was the hitchhiker, on all fours like an animal, running (crawling?) after the truck at an inhuman speed. Meanwhile, my teacher is beginning to fish-tail as he attempts to go faster. The whole time his eyes glued on the mirror, watching the man chase after his car.

Eventually, he was able to get up to speed and lost sight of the guy in his mirror. When he was able to stop at a gas station to use a pay phone, he called his wife at home to tell her the story, and to lock up the house. She thinks he’s just messing with her, and he had been talking to her coworker about the hitchhiker. When he asks why she would think that, apparently at her office in the town she worked in, one of her coworkers told her a story of the exact same thing happening to them. And it is a well-known urban legend in that town. She thought it was just folks playing with the new girl at work, who had to drive home alone at night.

Anyways, my teacher assured her that he was not lying, and she evidently believes him and can vouch for her side of the story, because she showed up to one of our fundraisers and I asked her about it.

So yeah, now I just avoid lonely roads in Montana.


In the Northeast U.S., there’s a story about Woodspeople or Man-o-woods. When you’re driving along a road in the woods and catch a glimpse of what looks like a person in the corner of your eye, but when you look directly at it it’s gone, they say you might have encountered a man-o-woods.

They are masters of camouflage and can sense when someone looks at them. They come to a halt so you can’t sense any movement. It’s speculated that they wear bark, mud, moss, and grasses to blend in. They’re supposedly human, but extremely simple-minded; barely verbal. They’re very small in stature and avoid contact with civilization mostly. Nobody knows where they live or congregate, but they usually move on if there’s too much activity around.

They’re also peaceful. Around some farmlands, they will do very simple chores at night or off in the distance. They may sweep a barn floor or stack some wood, but anything more complex is beyond them. They do it in exchange for not bothering them as they sleep in the barn for a night or for some bread and vegetables left out for them to find. They’ve never been known to steal or kill animals or livestock.

4. Easily Eight Feet Tall

Once I was in a truck I’d just bought, four-wheeling with friends up on a mountain in Appalachia. We were hanging out at a lake up on the mountain. You needed a serious 4wd to get there, a stock vehicle just wouldn’t do it. Something big comes rolling down the side of the mountain across the water from us, and there’s only one way in, and we’d been there for hours, so we knew nobody else was there. This thing cut a path maybe ten feet wide. It didn’t hit the water, but stopped at the edge. It started making its way slowly around closer to us, but we couldn’t tell what it was. We got back in the truck, feeling uneasy.

We got to the end of the road to the lake and back to the main trail when I noticed something was walking behind us. One friend wanted to shoot at it, but I told him to buckle up. Hauled ass down that road, got up to about 50, and the thing would sometimes run on two legs and sometimes dropped to four. Chased us for miles. We went all the way across the ridge, down to the next lake overlooking the next town. It finally stopped but I didn’t slow down until I was remotely close to civilization. When we stopped, had a flat tire, had to change it and the other tires had big chunks gone from where I’d been going fast over rocks. We were scared to death. It was white, the silhouetted shape of its head almost resembling a wolf, but huge, easily 8 feet tall when it stood up. Couldn’t tell if it was hairy or not, never let it get close enough.

My dad laughed and said “you’ll see all sorts of crazy shit up there” and told me his own stories about hearing things yell and unexplained things on the bank. Never seen anything like it before or since, that was about 99.

I started here, parked at the X and it initially came down the hill about where the O is. The lake was a lot lower then, they have built a new dam much higher and raised the water level since then. I didn’t stop until I got to here, even driving on a blown tire because I didn’t care, just had to get away. It chased me all the way until I turned onto High Knob Road.

5. A Deer On Two Legs

This story relates to the Wendigo. A bunch of friends and I were out one night to do some urban exploring, hiking through woods, etc (what else is there to do when you live in bum-fuck nowhere).

We were walking up a hill towards a connecting public park that was just kind of an open field with walking paths surrounded by dense woods.

Standing on the edge of a tree line we looked out into the open field and saw what we all thought was a deer. Not that strange , deer are everywhere. We walk out into the field some more while watching the deer. As we get further out into the field this “deer” stands up on two legs and covers about 100 yards in what seemed like only a few strides. This freaked us the fuck out and we left as fast as we could.

Ive been in the woods nearly all my life and I’ve never seen anything like that.

6. The Poinciana Tree

I live in Northern Australia and everyone growing up in my town knows of the legend of the poinciana woman.

A quick google search will elaborate into the many variations to the story but the one I grew up to know is that of a woman who was raped by Japanese fishermen who hanged herself from a poinciana tree when she had discovered she was pregnant. She is said to appear as a beautiful woman to entice men; with long dark hair dressed in a white gown, and is said to be situated at our army reserve.

When I was around twelve, and my younger brother ten, he had been in his room and I was in the lounge room on the computer. He had come barreling out from his room screaming can you hear that! Can you hear that?! before dragging me over to the window.

There was a faint feminine moan/hum, we could hear it moving from the window we stood at, to the one across the room and back in a clockwise direction. The wind had picked up with the noise despite how still the night had been. The sound became so loud that we were on the floor covering our ears crying, when I’ve brought it up recently my brother agrees it was almost as if the sound had been in our heads. This went on for about ten minutes before abruptly stopping. No wind, nothing.

We found out the next day that our older siblings had been at the army reserve that night before they got home, had climbed the concrete pillars to the locked gun turret and had been “taunting” the poinciana woman before they left when they heard footsteps assuming it was security.

What creeps me out most is that not long after this happened, I realized that we had a poinciana tree outside of that window.

7. A Forest Of Witches

My mum told me this story about the village where she grew up in Scotland.

The village’s earliest known settlement is from 3000BC, so it’s old. It’s been home to the Picts and the Romans. Nowadays there is a small woodland and the rest of the surrounding land is farmland. The woods used to be much larger, they are what survives of a large forest that almost completely surrounded the village. Legend says the forest was home to witches.

When the forest was being cleared for expanding farmland a lone witch came out of the forest to tell the villagers to stop. She said the trees would not forgive man for their destruction and if the villagers did not heed her words then all of their land would become infertile. And all the women.

Frightened, the villagers agreed but asked for a small part of the forest. A deal was made that this, and only this, land could be cleared. The witch also said that for every harvest of every crop grown there, one sack of produce must be taken to the edge of the forest and left.

This practice was followed for hundreds of years until the villagers abruptly tore down much of the remaining forest to grow wheat and build a mill. Again a strange woman came from the forest into the village and threatened the villagers. She said they had broken the promise and would suffer. This time the villagers took the woman and hanged her. Her last words were that the price was now three sacks.

The man who built the mill was scared and after the first harvest he took three sacks into the woods. Unlike his neighbours his crops did not fail and his wife became pregnant. Always he paid the woods their due and before long he was the richest man in the village and had three beautiful, healthy daughters.

Unfortunately the man grew greedy and thought he’d no longer pay his three sacks. The next morning his youngest daughter went missing. The whole village came to help look for her but the man asked that his men run the mill as normal so he didn’t lose any money. There was soon a commotion at the mill, some of the workers had fainted others were crying, some were shouting. The man came to see what was happening. A horrified worker told him they had started up the mill as normal, but blood had poured from between the stones. They had found his missing daughter.

Distraught the man sold his land and fled the village with his family. The mill was torn down and years later a silo was built there. By the 1960’s the silo was ancient and crumbling. It was also rumoured to be haunted either by the farmer, his daughter or the witch. Sometimes all three.

This part is my mum’s story. One day she and her friends had a bet to see who could spend a night in the silo. One boy who was always boasting of his bravery volunteered. Between them, my mum and her friends conspired to keep this a secret from their parents by lying about camping in each other’s gardens. That evening the boy, John, climbed the silo loft and mum and her friend gave him a bag of food, a blanket and a torch. They told him they’d be back in the morning but were actually planning on coming back later to frighten him.

They had waited a few hours and snuck back to the silo and alarmingly they could her John sobbing and crying for help. They found him quite a way from the silo pulling himself along on his stomach. John had jumped out the silo loft and broken his ankles. He was carried back to his parent’s house and taken to hospital. After the inevitable week of punishment my mum was allowed to visit John. She said he still looked as terrified then as he had that night. She asked him what happened. He said he told his parents and the doctors that he fell but the truth was he saw something. Not long after he was left on his own he could hear something shuffling around in the loft. He used the torch to see but there was only empty grain bags. He tried to ignore the noise but finally it sounded like it was moving toward him. When he shone the torch on the grain bags again he saw that they were crawling, dragging themselves along the floor towards him. Thats why he jumped.

The silo’s long been demolished but they’ve built homes there now.

8. Nora The Nun

There’s a woods local to me in Wales with an old 12th – 13th century castle where it’s rumoured she lived. There’s been so many sightings by different people and there’s apparently even been car crashes along the road outside the woods in result of people swerving to avoid the nun they saw standing in the middle of the road. I can post some links to reports and pictures if anyone’s interested.

There’s hundreds of different stories about who she was and why she haunts the woods but this is my personal favourite:

Nora was a nun at the castle where she met a castle guard who got her pregnant, after giving birth and her ‘sin’ was discovered she was to be executed for going against God. Nora ran from the castle with her baby and hid him in a tree trunk with the intention of coming back for him after she had lost her pursuers. She eventually managed to lose them but when she went back for her baby she couldn’t find him. Nora searched the woods day and night until she eventually died. It’s said Nora cannot pass over until she finds her baby.

9. The Monster On The Top Floor

In my town, there was always talk of a monster/ghost/whatever living in the top of our primary school. There was always signs, but they were brushed off as things that you would usually find in a school; half-eaten food, damaged tables, etc.

But then weirder things would happen some the ceiling panels disappearing or noises. I totally get why people would see this as a red-flag of something bad happening, but the school was always getting work done on it so I think even the teachers assumed it wasn’t anything too serious. This went on for around 2 years and whilst we we’re on a 6 week break (luckily) it turned out that a guy was living in the ceilings of the classrooms, and he must’ve been coming down for food out of the canteen regularly when it was quiet enough for him not to get caught.

The creepiest thing about all this, isn’t that it was just childish rumours turned out to be true, or that he had been there whilst lessons were happening. It’s that the reason he was caught, was because he fucking died and the caretaker smelt something awful and went up there assuming it was rats or a pipeline leak.

Needless to say, parents were informed and a lot of kids didn’t come back to school after the break.

10. The Other Children

In Okinawa the was a house near the USO on Kadena Air Force Base that was abandon. A man killed himself and his family in it. It was said to be haunted. It was even part of the ghost tours they gave on base. Reports that the outside lights would turn on by themselves and creepy things happening. One story was that a woman could be seen washing her hair in the sink in the kitchen through a window. The creepiest thing by far, was that this house shared a chain link fence with the daycare building. My friends mom worked at the day care. Children, 4-5 y/o, would constantly throw toys over the fence. When asked why, they said they wanted to play with the children on the other side. All of the kids saw these other children, but the adults could not. It throughly freaked out anyone who worked there.

11. Clownman

I lived right outside Pittsburgh, PA as a teenager, in a little, poor, town called Swissvale. The next communities over are Rankin and Braddock, which are steel production heyday ghost towns that have been plagued with poverty. A strip of woods, lined by a train track follow the river upon which our communities reside. Right next to the river looms the decrepit abandoned steel mill I believe once called Carrie Furnace. As teenagers do, my friends and I used to cut through the park, across the tracks, and to the river to drink, smoke pots, and hang out. Eventually, we started exploring the steel mill. I loved it. The graffiti and sculptural artists, the wildlife that randomly took over, the bums who made it home, etc all made it a worthwhile adventure. I became comfortable there.

Then my friends told me about an abduction and rape of a teenager whose naked and bloodied body ended up strung up on a set of city steps. The killer was an insane man who dressed as a clown with a horrid, bloodstained mask. “He lives in the woods and in the steel mill. He walks the tracks with a butcher knife he hasn’t even bothered to clean. Don’t come here alone.”

I got into a fight with a boyfriend one night and stubbornly decided to walk alone from the river – across the tracks, and through the woods. I got to the tracks, turned and looked at the steel mill. Further down the tracks I saw a figure. I couldn’t see a face, but the baggy pants were rather clown like. I ran like you wouldn’t fucking believe. I’ve never felt fear like that before. It was probably a bum. But who takes chances with an urban legend like that?

12. Daan

As a child, my dad and eldest uncles were told about an evil man who lived around the area, Daan. During the night, the man would catch travellers, roaming children and cattle, and slice them open with his tall scythe. He’d wait by the old oak tree for an unsuspecting boy, with a hat on his head, before revealing his face and digging into his prey. Naturally my eldest uncle knew this was just a scare tactic, but my dad still shat bricks whenever he had to go through the field at night to pick stuff up from the neighbour. Basically, one night he was sent out to get coal from the neighbour at midnight. It was storming and late. He darted, barefoot, through the wet grass to the little house. On the way he looked over to the oak tree, and saw a man with a scythe and hat. Queue bricks being shat x1000. My dad fucking SCREAMS as he runs to the house. As he arrives, the woman of the house, Mrs. Gelder I’ll call her, told him how a man named Daan lived on the plot. He took care of her and her land while he lived, until he was tragically dismembered in a freak accident on the field. His body was shredded into halves, and there was no hope to save him. He died in agony, although, he was actually a lovely man. Basically the legend started because he was very introverted, maybe a bit eccentric, essentially they were mocking him.

So, a few years later, my dad marries my mom, who is foreign. She’d never been told about Daan. My mom is into a lot of spiritualist stuff, voudou, all that. She started seeing a very small man, with curly hair and a hat. He’d wave his pitchfork and walk away. She was really confused and asked my grandma, who told her the story. So, after all these years of being “chased” by Daan, my parents made a little shrine for him. There’s a plaque in our front garden still, that says “In loving memory of Daan, a friend”. He has never been seen by anyone in the town again. As a child, I remember having an imaginary friend who was a farmer who loved cows (Daan worked a cow pasture) which my parents look back on very fondly. The plaque, also, despite all the years it’s been in harsh conditions, remains bright and shiny.

13. Dead Children’s Playground

Back when I lived in Huntsville my home was ~100 yards away from the “Dead Children’s Playground“. During the day it was just a place parents could drop their kids while they visited buried loved ones, but during the night it’s also a huge fog trap due to a giant rock wall around half of it. Supposedly swings move on their own and you can hear children laughing. We used to go out there at midnight all the time but apparently you have to go at “the witching hour” which I’m guessing is past my bedtime.

14. The Rock And The Shrine

So about my 3rd year in Japan I move to a small town. I am living way up in the woods north of the little town I work in. It is a narrow winding road with a river on one side and a steep mountain on the other. The road is so narrow that there are places to pull over and wait if another car is coming.

One night I am heading home after work, keeping in mind that if I see a car heading towards me I (or they ) have to pull over. I am heading north with the river on my left and mountain on my right. I get to this place that the road curves to the left with a big rock on the left side of the road, right at the curve. I see car lights of a white taurus type car to the left of the rock (kind of over the river) coming from the other side and so I pull over to wait for them to pass.

I keep waiting for them to come around the rock (which has a small shrine in it) but they never come. Huh. Weird… but there are a few buildings up there. Maybe they pulled in just as the rock obscured my vision of them. I head home without thinking much about it.

Later that night I get the munchies and the only store was back south in the main part of town. So I am driving south this time and come to that same corner.

And I see the same white car, past the rock shrine, coming north towards me. This time I am by the buildings and I pull over and wait for him to pass.

But no car comes.

This is really weird because on the north side there are places a car could disappear but on the south side there is no where to go. Only a steep mountain on one side and a river on the other.

As I ease around the bend…nothing. No car to be seen.

So this sticks with me until one day in October I am teaching a culture lesson about Halloween in the local junior high school. The subject of ghosts comes up and I jokingly say, “Hey, I think I saw a ghost! Do you know the road that goes north with the shrine in the corner of…


Like total panic, girls are crying, guys are shouting, and the Japanese teacher has gone deadly white. Some are literally in the fetal position moaning “stop stop” over and over. I was floored at the reaction.

It seems that the rock was a dangerous place but was unable to be removed because of the shrine without offending the gods there. A white car crashed into it and someone died. People freaked because there was no way I could have known about it.

Link to the place… go see for yourself… if you dare.

15. The H Man

There is a local legend about a campsite I used to go camping at here in upstate New York. Legend says that there is a man they call “The H Man” that lives out in the woods near the campsite. One year a group of boy scouts were camping out there and one of the boys went missing. They didn’t find him until they started packing up to go home, as they were cleaning up and packing up their belongings they found the missing kid. He was dead under one of the mattresses with an “H” carved into his chest. They say when the H man kills campers, he carves an H into your chest. Growing up camping here, all of us kids were terrified of the H man. They said if you go exploring deep enough into the woods you can find his home. Well, there IS an abandoned house deep in the woods we found one time. ( I was shitting my pants ) Creepy thing was, it was sooo deep in the woods but there was no roads leading to it, no paths leading to it. Just a single abandoned house. Sitting in the middle of the woods. If you go camping in Minerva NY, beware of the “H Man”.

16. A Bet Gone Horribly Wrong

One of my friends told me this a long time ago; she heard it from someone else (obviously).

A group of guys, high school friends, make a bet involving a local haunted house. One guy says he can spend the entire night inside of it without leaving. His friends take him up on it, but just to make sure he doesn’t pull a fast one, they insist he be tied to the upstairs banister with a rope. Guy agrees. They tie him up and leave.

Next morning they come back to get him. He’s a little out of it and says it was fine, but that’s all he says. He wins the bet and collects.

Life continues; the friends finish high school. All go away to college except haunted house guy. He stays around in town, moves from dead-end job to dead-end job. He doesn’t go out and loses touch with the others over the next couple of years.

One day the friends hear that haunted house guy has killed himself. This comes as a huge shock and they all have questions. They are all horrified to learn that he hung himself with the rope they used to tie him up that night in the haunted house.

17. Herne The Hunter

My local “If you saw this in the forest, you’d shit yourself” character. A Man, riding a black horse, flanking alongside him a Dog and an Owl overhead. However…the Man has antlers (in some illustrations, it’s a stag skull for a mask with the antlers attached. Other variations show him with actual antlers from his own skull) and a glow surrounds him which happens to be blue… Spooky. He has a horse..it’s a nice horse, it likes mints. He has a dog with him who only could be compared to Mr Pickles and a Horned owl (not actual horns) and has glowing red eyes. He carries with him his hunting bow, a heavy metal chain and a large horn. There are many variations of his story but overall he’s not going to come and kill you in your sleep. In short this was meant to be an actual man who had a job as a hunter and then either died or killed himself and his ghost (summed up with all the craziness above) roams the night.

18. The Woman At The Door

Buckle up folks…here is the only sort of urban legend, etc. that I ever came across. One of my friends back in college lived about 20-25 minutes outside of town in between my college town and a neighboring small town with several of his friends.

One Sunday evening at about 10pm, they heard an unexpected knock at the door. One of the guys checked the peephole and saw a woman, and immediately something felt off so he went to his room to obtain his gun and then opened the door. The woman was filthy and disheveled and immediately pleaded to come inside. Hesitantly, they let her in and asked why the fuck she was 10 miles from the next town and knocking on their door at night. This woman, albeit frantically, explained that people were looking for her because she had ran away from a cult in the next town that had been systematically abusing kids for decades. One guy calls her shit and she proceeds to pull out a stack of creepy polaroids of individual children that look almost like booking/intake/mugshots in front of a bookcase.

She told them that the cops were involved and covering it up and that they couldn’t under any circumstances call them. This woman asks for a ride into town to get on a bus so she can travel to this “attorney” she has been in contact with; doesn’t need money, doesn’t need anything but a ride to the bus station and sealed lips.

For whatever fucking reason, my friends agree to take her into town and drop her off at the Greyhound station. One gave her his number and said to update him when she got herself together. They drive all the way back to their house and immediately succumb to the paranoia and agree that it would be best to call the police.

A couple sheriffs and a couple cops from the next town over show up and question them about the woman’s appearance, where they took her, what she said, etc. Well, they lie and say that they simply took her into town and dropped her off in a grocery store parking lot and make no mention of the children, the cult, etc.

The cops take their report and all leave, except the two policemen from the small town COME BACK and proceed to grill the everloving shit out of these guys about exactly what the woman said, where they took her, why they gave her a ride. They were really aggressive but when nobody had any information to provide them, they gave up and left with instructions to call them, and only them, if they have a similar occurrence.

Never heard back from the woman, never got another visit from the cops, never saw anything in the news.

Wimberley, TX.

19. The Faerie’s Tree

Ireland here so this will be good I promise.

My father used to be an Archaeologist, in the time of the Celtic Tiger.

While building the new motorway from Cork to Dublin they came across a tree. And this bloke Eddie Lenihan aSeanchaí tells them that they cannot cut down the tree because it is where the fairies of Munster and Leinster do battle.

They took no notice of him.

When it came time to cut the tree down, the man who’s job it was to do it, was walking towards the tree.


Two months later, the man who they brought in to replace him died of a car crash on the way in to his first day on the job.

They left the tree alone. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Eric Redding

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