10 Super Scary Urban Legends From Your Childhood That Still Keep You Awake At Night

This urban legend was featured in the cold open of the 1999 film Urban Legend

High Beams

I heard this one when I was about 8 years old. I loudly announced to whoever was in earshot that when I learned to drive I would never, EVER get in my car without checking the back seat first. I’m proud to say I kept that promise to myself and I still haven’t been murdered yet. From UrbanLegendsOnline.com:

A young woman is sitting in a coffee house, about ready to leave, when a man approaches her and asks to buy her a cup of coffee. She politely refuses his offer, and tells the man that she’s had enough cups already, and that she’s going to leave. She walks out to her car, and drives away. Following her is the man who was refused on his coffee offer in his truck. She drives along a two-lane stretch of road, and sees the man following her in his truck flashing his lights and honking his horn. The woman is under the assumption that he is angered for her refusal of his offer.

After being followed for around 10 minutes with the man following her still flashing the lights and honking, the woman’s car runs out of gas. The man pulls behind her on the side of the road and gets out of the car with a double-barrel shotgun.

He tells her to get out of the car. She doesn’t at first, then he screams at her “GET OUT OF THE CAR LADY”, and she complies.

He then says “Get out of the car.” again. She tells him she’s already out.

He says “Not you, him”. He gestures to the vehicle and she sees a man wielding a butcher’s knife get out of the back of the car, holding his knife up in a surrendering style. The man tells the woman that he was flashing his lights and honking his horn so the man with the knife wouldn’t harm her.

Daniella Urdinlaz

“Humans Can Lick Too”

This particular tale seems to be a universal life-ruiner. I can’t remember how old I was when I heard it but I know I burst into tears. From Wikipedia:

A young girl is home alone for the first time with only her dog for company. Listening to the radio, she hears of a serial killer (or mental patient) on the loose, so she locks all the doors and windows (in some versions, the basement window is jammed open so she just locks the basement door) and goes to bed, taking her dog to her room with her and letting it sleep under her bed… She wakes in the night and can hear a dripping sound coming from the bathroom. She finds the dripping sound unsettling for some reason. The bedside lamp doesn’t work, and she is too scared to get out of bed to turn on the main light and walk over to the bathroom. She hides under the covers and then to reassure herself that the dog is still under the bed, she puts her hand down and feels licking on her hand. She lies awake for some time listening to the dripping sound and periodically puts her hand down to where she can hear heavy breathing and each time feels gentle licks on her fingers. Eventually she falls asleep. The next morning when she wakes, she goes to the bathroom for a drink of water. On the shower wall, written in blood are the words “HUMANS CAN LICK TOO”, and her slaughtered dog is hanging from the shower head, its blood, now thick and dark, still dripping into the bathtub.

Martin de Arriba

Anonymous AIDS Attacks

I seem to recall getting an email forward similar to the story below when I was in middle school and I took it to be gospel truth. It’s still kind of scary to poke my fingers into change returns, actually. From Snopes:


This is happening in [name of your city]. A couple of weeks ago, in a movie theater, a person sat on something sharp in one of the seats. When she stood up to see what it was, a needle was found poking through the seat with an attached note saying, “You have been infected with HIV.” The Centers for Disease Control reports similar events have taken place in several other cities recently. All of the needles tested HAVE been positive for HIV. The CDC also reports that needles have been found in the coin return areas of pay phones and soda machines. Everyone is asked to use extreme caution when confronted with these types of situations. All public chairs should be thoroughly but safely inspected prior to any use. A thorough visual inspection is considered a bare minimum. Furthermore, they ask that everyone notify their family members and friends of the potential dangers, as well. Thank you.

The “highbeams” urban legend is recorded in the iconic book series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Never Flash Your Headlights

Another promise I made to myself years before I held a driver’s license: I wouldn’t flash my headlights at cars with theirs off at night. It may be an urban legend but screw it, why take the risk? From TruthOrFiction.com:

If you are driving after dark and see an on-coming car with no headlights on, DO NOT FLASH YOUR LIGHTS AT THEM! This is a common Bloods gang member “initiation game” that goes like this:

The new gang member under initiation drives along with no headlights, and the first car to flash their headlights at him is now his “target”. He is now required to turn around and chase that car, then shoot and kill every individual in the vehicle in order to complete his initiation requirements.

Police Depts across the nation are being warned that September 23rd and 24th is the “blood” initiation weekend. Their intent is to have all the new bloods nationwide drive around on Friday and Saturday nights with their headlights off. In order to be accepted into the gang, they have to shoot and kill all individuals in the first auto that does a courtesy flash to warn them that their lights are off. Make sure you share this information with all the drivers in your family!

Sarah Michelle Gellar gets a call from inside the house in Scream 2

“The Call Is Coming From Inside The House!”

Oh, this little gem made mandatory teen babysitting REAL fun. From Urban Legends And Horror:

A teenage girl looking for some extra cash, decides to take a babysitting job from the next town over. The parents are attending a friend’s party and leave their 2 young children with the teenager.

The girl plays with the children, gives them their supper and then puts them to bed. Pleased to get such well mannered children she returns downstairs and settles down to watch a film for the night. About an hour into her film a shrill ring pierces the silence. Aware that the children are sleeping she answers the phone quickly in order to not wake them. She assumes that it’s the parents calling to check on their children, however, instead of the voice she is expecting she is met with heavy breathing. Assuming that it’s the wrong number, she hangs up. As she begins to walk away the phone rings again.

“What?” she asks, irritated. “I’m close” a hoarse voice whispered to her. Puzzled, she demands to know who it is but the caller hangs up.

She returns to her film in the next room, trying to forget the weird call. About 15 minutes later, the phone rings again. The teenager would rather not answer it again, but she really didn’t want the children to wake, so she answered it again. “I’m closer, and I’m about to get you”, the voice laughed. Getting scared, the teenager hangs up and immediately calls the police.

The police are unsympathetic and tell her it’s probably a prank but they will monitor the line if it will ease her mind. Instead of going back to her film, she stays by the phone, waiting for another call. She doesn’t have to wait for long and sure enough, it’s the mystery caller again. This time he laughs hysterically and tells her it won’t be long. She throws the phone back into the receiver and her heart pounds.

Almost immediately the phone rings again and she is met with the voice of a panicked man “The calls are coming from inside the house, GET OUT NOW”. “I’ll get the children and go” she says, panicking. “NO, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW!” he demands.

Without hanging up, she runs to the front garden and is met with 2 police cars, the police men run straight into the house and upstairs. They return empty handed and with a sickly look on their faces. “The children are dead, no sign of the killer” they state, solemnly. Another officer exits the house with an evidence bag, which contains a bloody knife.

Brice Cooper


At this point, I was dreading becoming an adult because life seemed to be MUCH scarier as a grown-up. Everyone was constantly being murdered or narrowly avoiding being murdered! (That was supposed to be a joke but I guess it’s actually kind of true.) From Snopes:

Two students had gone out to neck in a car on an isolated country road. Afterwards, the car wouldn’t start. The girlfriend got spooked. The boyfriend said he would walk for help, but suggested she first get down on the floor of the car in the back and put a blanket over her so no one looking in would see her… and told her not to look out or get out until he returned and told her to, no matter what she heard. Then he walked off, leaving her hidden.

He didn’t return, and he didn’t return, and then she heard a strange tap-tap-tap sound on top of the car. Tap-tap-tap. Despite her growing panic, she didn’t get out and remained huddled there, all night long, listening to the irregular tapping sounds.

Finally, the day grew light outside and she heard someone walking up to the car. A man’s voice called out “Is anyone in there?” It was the local sheriff. She peeked out and he told her to get out of the car, walk down the road to the waiting sheriff’s car, and whatever she did, not to look back at the car.

She walked down the road to the sheriff’s car but looked back at the last minute and saw her boyfriend’s head impaled on the CB antenna, dripping blood onto the car.

Daniella Urdinlaz

Bloody Mary

Everyone tried this one. Or at least I attempted to try it but always freaked out as soon as I turned off the light. I was kind of a chicken back then. From Wikipedia:

Historically, the ritual encouraged young women to walk up a flight of stairs backwards while holding a candle and a hand mirror, in a darkened house. As they gazed into the mirror, they were supposed to be able to catch a view of their future husband’s face. There was, however, a chance that they would see a skull (or the face of the Grim Reaper) instead, indicating that they were destined to die before they would have the chance to marry.

In the ritual of today, Bloody Mary allegedly appears to individuals or groups who ritualistically invoke her name in an act of catoptromancy. This is done by repeatedly chanting her name in a mirror placed in a dimly-lit or candle-lit room. The Bloody Mary apparition allegedly appears as a corpse, a witch or ghost; can be friendly or evil; and is sometimes “seen” covered in blood. The lore surrounding the ritual states that participants may endure the apparition screaming at them, cursing them, strangling them, stealing their soul, drinking their blood or scratching their eyes out.

The 1997 film I Know What You Did Last Summer played with the “hook for a hand” urban legend.

The Hook

I find it interesting that so many urban legends are focused around teens necking. I guess the message is “don’t make out?” HA! Nothing can stop teens from making out. (Sure didn’t stop me!) From UrbanLegends.About.com:

A teenage boy drove his date to a dark and deserted lovers’ lane for a make-out session. He turned on the radio for mood music, leaned over to whisper in the girl’s ear, and began kissing her.

Minutes later, the mood was broken when the music suddenly stopped mid-song. After a moment of silence an announcer’s voice came on, warning in an ominous tone that a convicted murderer had just escaped from the state insane asylum — which happened to be located within a half-mile of where they were parked — and urging that anyone who notices a man wearing a stainless steel hook in place of his missing right hand should immediately report his whereabouts to the police.

The girl became frightened and asked to be taken home. The boy, feeling bold, locked all the doors instead and, assuring his date they would be safe, attempted to kiss her again. She became frantic and pushed him away, insisting that they leave. Relenting, the boy peevishly jerked the car into gear and spun its wheels as he pulled out of the parking space.

When they arrived at the girl’s house she got out of the car, and, reaching to close the door, began to scream uncontrollably. The boy ran to her side to see what was wrong and there, dangling from the door handle, was a bloody hook.

Alexandros Binopoulos

He Was Right Behind You!

This one was a favorite of my best friend’s in high school. She told it every time we had a sleepover. And I do mean every. Damn. Time. From Snopes:

A 15 year old girl was babysitting her little sister while her parents went out to a party. She sent her sister off to bed around 9:30 while she stayed up to watch her favorite T.V. show. She sat in her recliner with a blanket and watched until it went off at around 10:30, after it went off she turned around in her seat to face the big glass door and watch the snow fall. She sat there for about 5 minutes or so when she noticed a strange man walking toward the glass from outside. She sat there staring as he stared at her back. He started to pull a shiny object out from his coat. Thinking it was a knife she immediately pulled the covers over her head. After about 10 minutes she removed the covers and saw that he was gone. She then called 911 and they rushed over.

They examined outside for any footprints in the snow, but there were none to be found. Two cops walked into her house to tell her the bad news and they noticed a trail of big wet footprints leading up to the chair where she was sitting.

The cops came to their conclusion and immediately told the girl she was very lucky because the man she saw staring at her was not standing outside, but he was standing behind her and what she saw was his reflection.

Robert Zunikoff

The Clown Statue

Another babysitter story. Why do so many psychopaths target babysitters? This one’s a slight variation of both the tales I shared above. From UrbanLegends.About.com:

A few years ago a mother and a father decided they needed a break, so they wanted to head out for a night on the town. So they called their most trusted babysitter. When the babysitter arrived the two children were already fast asleep in bed. So the babysitter just got to sit around and make sure everything was okay with the children.

Later in the night, the babysitter got bored and so she wanted to watch TV but she couldn’t watch it downstairs because they didn’t have cable downstairs (the parents didn’t want their children watching too much garbage) so she called them and asked them if she could watch cable TV in the parents’ room. Of course the parents said it was ok, but the babysitter had one final request. She asked if she could cover up the large clown statue in their bedroom with a blanket or cloth, because it made her nervous. The phone line was silent for a moment, and the father (who was talking to the babysitter at the time) said “Take the children and get out of the house. We’ll call the police. We don’t have a clown statue.” The children and the babysitter got murdered by the clown. It turned out that the clown was a killer that escaped from jail.

Horror writer for Creepy Catalog, ESFP, Kylo Ren advocate, Slytherin, sassbasket.

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