Urban legends to keep you awake at night

Horror stories are wonderful. Horror stories you’re not sure are fake are even better. Everyone has heard at least one. That story that happened to your brother’s friend’s cousin. That story that could happen to you. 

Urban legends have existed for centuries and I love reading all about them. I have my favourites though, and today I’m going to share them with you.

Am I Pretty?

While walking alone one night in Japan, a young man is stopped by a woman who’s face is partially obscured by a mask.

“Am I pretty?” she asks him.

The young man, flustered but amused, tells her that she is. The woman peels away her mask, revealing that her mouth has been split from ear to ear. A large, angry gash revealing teeth and muscle.

“Am I pretty now?” she asks.

The man screams in horror. The woman’s face distorts in anger.

The man is found the next day.

He has been split in half.

In Japan, this woman is known as Kuchisaki-onna, the “slit-mouthed woman”. According to the legend, the woman was caught cheating by her husband, who proceeded to kill and mutilate her – cutting her mouth from ear to ear. The woman then comes back as a vengeful spirit. Though there are rumours about ways to confuse the woman, there is supposedly no escape. If you tell her she is not beautiful, she will cut you in half. If you tell her she IS beautiful, even after she has revealed her face, she will cut your face so that you too can look like her.

Let Us In

A woman is sitting alone in her home when she hears a knocking at her door. Though it is quite late, around 11PM, she gets up to answer the knocking, in case a neighbour is having trouble. 

She reaches the door, and through the glass of the window pane she can see two small silhouettes. There are two children stood outside her home. The woman puts her hand on the door handle ready to help the poor children when she is overcome with a panic she cannot explain. Everything is telling her not to open the door.

“Excuse me,” comes a voice from outside. “Can we please come in to use your telephone?”

The woman, though terrified, is somehow compelled to open the door. Just a crack. Both children, a boy and a girl, are holding hands in front of her. The girl is older, around 12 years old, while the boy looks about six. Both are staring at the ground, their hair covering their eyes.

“Please,” says the girl. “My brother is scared. May we come inside to use your telephone?”

The girl looks up, revealing pitch black eyes, no whites or iris.

The woman slams the door, ignoring the pleas from the children outside as she runs and hides in her bedroom. 

The children only leave when the sun comes up, leaving behind no trace.

Reports of Black Eyed Children can be found all over the world. Generally the children are between 6 and 16, with pure black eyes. They will ask to enter your home or car, and sometimes will compel you to follow their instructions, despite the incredible feeling of dread that accompanies seeing them. 

The Babysitter and The Doll

After putting a young boy to bed, his babysitter calls the child’s patents to give them an update.

“He’s fine now,” the babysitter tells the boy’s father, “but it took a little while to get him to sleep. I think that clown doll is a bit too scary to be in the room. Can I get rid of it?”

The father is silent for a moment, and then tells the babysitter to grab the child and wait outside for him to return.

“What’s wrong?” the babysitter asks.

“My son doesn’t have a clown doll.”

This story is usually one accompanied with the “told by a friends friend” tag. In the end, it sometimes transpires that a man has been going into the child’s bedroom, night after night, dressed as a clown. Though the child has told the parents before, they assumed the child was making it up until the man is caught by the babysitter. This is the urban legend I find scariest, just because it is something so possible.

Bloody Mary 

Two children creep into their school bathroom one day after school. They turn out the lights, pull every flush and run every tap. Then, they stand in front of the bathroom mirror.

“Bloody Mary,” they say in unison, with a slight giggle. “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary.”

Nothing happens.

The children are disappointed and turn to leave.

Something flickers in the mirror. 

One child turns back, mouth open, as a disfigured woman crawls out of the mirror. The woman grabs the child and gouges out their eyes with long, yellow fingernails. The second child is later found crying outside the bathroom, fingernail scratches running down their face.

The first child is never seen again.

I have a soft spot for this urban legend. Not because it it scarier than any of the others, but because it was the first urban legend I came across. Back when I was a child, Bloody Mary was an extremely popular scary story to tell each other. Children would dare each other to try the ritual, some returning with suspect scratches on their arms.

There are several variations on this story, the most common being the story of Mary Worth – a vengeful witch. When holding a candle in a dark bathroom, you can conjure Mary’s spirit by whispering “I believe in Mary Worth” three times. If you’re lucky, you will see a vision of your future spouse. If you are unlucky, Mary may scratch you, gouge out your eyes, strangle you, or even pull you into the mirror.

Why don’t you give it a go and find out?

Enjoy these? Well, I’m currently crowdfunding a horror novel with Unbound! You can find out more by clicking here. Let me know your favourite urban legends in the comments!


3 thoughts on “Urban legends to keep you awake at night

  1. I have loved Urban Legends since I was a child! I absolutely have a soft spot for “Bloody Mary” as well. Grade school, and it also being the first time I heard an Urban Legend. Although I really like “The Slit Mouthed Woman”. I always found that one intriguing.

    I enjoy the one about the “Clown Doll” but I’ve never cared too much for it (mostly because of my stupidly extreme fear of clowns). Xp I won’t even type “Bloody Mary” 3 times. That one always scared me!

    Anyways, thank you for sharing and sorry it took me so long to check out your blog. I’ve been busy as we are finally getting ready to move into a different apartment. It is super cool to find someone else who enjoys Urban Legends (and even the more modern ones). I enjoy them for many of the same reasons you enjoy them.

    Wonderful post!

    Cheers! ^_^

    1. Thank you so much, it’s so nice to see someone as terrified of Bloody Mary as myself! I still dislike going into the bathroom at night to this day.

      Thank you for the lovely comment, I’m glad you enjoyed the post, what is your all time favourite urban legend?

      1. Odd as it is going to sound, my favorite Urban Legend of all time is “The Baby Sitter And The Man Upstairs”. To me, as someone who often watched my younger siblings and was a younger sibling to two other siblings, it was terrifying both from the point of being the kids who get murdered, (depending on the variation) to being the one watching the kids and something awful like that happening.

        Although I have a penchant for loving the more supernaturally related types of horror and Urban Legends, this one has a very real and quite terrifying plausibility. It could happen to anyone! I will always have a soft spot for A certain woman in the mirror, because that one scares me enough that I not only don’t like being in the bathroom at night (there is a giant mirror in ours at the moment), but the Urban Legend itself gave me a life long fear of mirrors in general. Xp

        Another great mentions go out to “The Roommates Death”, “Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On The Light?”, “The Killer In The BackSeat” and “Humans Can Lick Too”.

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