I am really enjoying these spooky Halloween themed posts. I am trying to do one a week, at least, throughout October. Let me know what you think of them so far.
So here are my favourite urban legends from around the world in no particular order:
1. Kuchisake Onna, aka The Slit Mouthed Woman
According to Japanese legend the Slit Mouthed Woman was once a beautiful woman who was mutilated by a jealous husband who cut her mouth from ear to ear.
To hide her mutilation during her wanderings she wears a surgical mask, which Japanese people wear to prevent the spread of colds and sickness. When she meets a person on the street she asks them “Am I beautiful?” if the person answers no, they are killed with the pair of scissors she carries with her. If they answer yes she removes her mask and asks them the question again. If the person says no after that, they will be ripped in half. If they answer yes, then she will slit their mouth to look like hers.
There are a few different ways to save yourself from the slit mouthed woman. The first is to say that she is average. In other stories she has a weakness for sweets, which will distract her if you drop them to the ground, giving you a chance to run away, or for you could ask her if she finds you beautiful.
2. Spring-Heeled Jack
Between 1837 and 1904 sightings of Jack were reported all over London and Liverpool. He attacked women, setting out to frighten them and shred their dresses with his metal claws. He would cause carriage accidents by leaping out in front of carriages, causing them to crash. Jack’s leaping abilities earned him the nickname of “Spring-heeled Jack”. He could leap tall buildings and jump over high fences with great ease.
There have been many different descriptions of Jack’s appearance, but many portray him as a well-dressed man with burning red eyes. Other reports describe him with horns and blue flames spewing from his mouth.
There have been very few recent sightings of Jack but there has been the rare report of a similar man about England. In 1986 a man complained about being slapped across the face by another man in a black suit who had inhuman jumping abilities, and in 2012 a family saw a dark figure leap out in front of their car before jumping over a 15 foot bank.
3. The Bunny Man
The Bunny Man is an urban legend from Virginia that focuses on a tunnel known as The Bunny Man Tunnel. Over 50 people have claimed to have seen him in recent years, many of whom have been attacked or threatened by this axe wielding man in a rabbit costume. The bunny man is over six foot tall, wears a novelty rabbit costume and attacks people who try to pass through his tunnel, usually while shouting at them for trespassing. There have even been reports of him killing and eating pet cats that have wandered to close to his tunnel.
It’s believed that the Bunny Man is an escaped mental patient who was the only survivor when a prison transport crashed. He had been institutionalized after murdering his entire family on Easter Sunday. When the authorities discovered that he was missing from the crash a manhunt started. When searching the nearby forest the police found dozens of skinned rabbits hanging from the trees. Eventually they tracked him down only for him to escape again, but this time he was hit by a train while trying to flee from the police. According to the officers they heard laughter as the train passed them by even though the Bunny Man was now dead.
To this day people are still reporting being attacked, chased or threatened by the Bunny Man, and every Halloween skinned rabbits are found hanging from the nearby trees.
4. Crybaby Bridges
Crybaby Bridge is the nickname given to several bridges all over the United States. This nickname is usually linked to an urban legend or ghost story about baby cries that can be heard coming from the bridge, which are usually linked to a baby or young child being killed nearby or in the river running below.
There are several ghosts linked to the bridge north of Monmouth town. According to legend a young unwed mother threw herself off the bridge with her week old baby in her arms. Since her death people have reported hearing the cries of a baby on the bridge.
They were not the only drownings at the bridge. A few decades ago a school bus full of children fell into the river during a flood and all of its occupants died. Their ghosts have been sighted on the bridge by distressed drivers whose cars have broken down on it. The children have been known to help push broken down cars until they are safely off the bridge.
Hanako-san is a Japanese urban legend that dates back to the 1950’s. She appears in school bathrooms, usually wearing a World War Two era uniform with a red skirt. Hanako-san is usually found in the third bathroom stall in the third floor restroom. According to legend if you knock on the stall door and ask “Are you there, Hanako-san?” she will answer you saying that she is there.
What lies beyond the bathroom door varies according to who is telling the story. Most versions say that if you open the door you will find a little girl in the stall and she will drag you into the toilet with her, drowning you. Another story says that you will find a three headed serpent who impersonated a little girl’s voice. Other versions say that a white or blood covered hand will appear and drag you into the toilet. To avoid any of the above fates the person who summoned Hanako-san just has to walk away from the bathroom door when she says she is in there.