Friday Blogging Experience: Favorite Urban Legends

by Ken Mueller on June 14, 2013 · 9 comments

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the hook 01 300x225 Friday Blogging Experience: Favorite Urban LegendsWe’ve all heard them: those stories that are told about scary and horrifying things that supposedly happened in our neck of the woods. But under more scrutiny, it turns out that most of them never happened, and most of them are being told in other localities as well. All areas have their own versions of those stories. They can be something as bizarre as a local Big Foot monster (or other beastie), or even something a bit more pop cultureish such as Mikey from the Life Cereal commercial dying after consuming a mix of Coke and Pop Rocks.

As a teen I was fascinated with urban legends, mostly because of a few I heard from our area, one of which was the very popular Legend of Hook Man, which doesn’t appear to have any basis in fact, and has variations all over the world. In our town, in the suburb of Philadelphia, we told the story about a road near my house, Mann Road, which was narrow, unpaved, dark, and curvy. We’d drive back that road during the day and be creeped out, but at night we hoped that we wouldn’t break down or run out of gas.

Another involved rumors that a group of English teachers at another nearby high school, Upper Merion, were part of a witch’s coven. This story was loosely rooted in fact, in relation to the murder of English teacher Susan Reinert and her children, that happened in 1979, and ended up as the subject of at least four books and a made for TV movie. While the so-called Main Line Murders creeped us out as teens, I ended up covering some of the ensuing trials just a few years later as a radio reporter. It was all very surreal.

I was so fascinated with urban legends that I got swallowed up by The Vanishing Hitchhiker and a number of other books written by Jan Harold Brunvand, who sought to catalog these legends and find their time and place of origin.

Over the years I’ve heard all sorts of stories or legends, again, some of which are true. When I was in college in Beaver Falls, we heard stories of a  man named Charlie No Face, or The Green Man. The story was an interesting mix of fact and fiction.

So how about you? What were, or are, some of the urban legends you remember, particularly in relation to your area? Did you hear about Hook Man where you grew up? What kind of beasties and creatures were supposedly lurking around your area? It’s your time to share on the Friday Blogging Experience!

 Friday Blogging Experience: Favorite Urban Legends
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9 comments
SteveODonnell
SteveODonnell

"Welcome to the world of AIDS" and "people can lick too" were told at my college as things that happened last year at one of the student houses.

It was always last year.

MarkJMuellerJr
MarkJMuellerJr

In the part of NC where my family lived for so many years there was the legend of Acid Park. The legend says that one night on her way home a girl who was tripping on LSD crashed her car into a tree and died instantly. Her father then built these giant reflective windmills, or Whirligigs as we called them, on the site of the crash to memorialize her death. The story from there grows into a fish tail where people take some liberties as to whether the girl haunts the memorial and what lives in the old cabin behind the lake that the memorial was built around.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/acid-park

biggreenpen
biggreenpen

You know, I'm drawing a blank ........ but I did read about a "ghost" here at Florida State - a young woman electrocuted by a random bolt of lightning while sunbathing decades ago who lives on in the residence hall rooms where she lived. Who knows? I enjoyed your post!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@SteveODonnell Yeah, I think those stories surface at just about every college. and always from "last year".

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@MarkJMuellerJr I remember the first time your dad drove me by there at night. Creepy. Glad I know the real story behind that place though.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@biggreenpen Thanks! I bet that most colleges have some sort of ghost story or other legend that gets passed down and altered over the years. I'd love to research that story to see if there is any truth to it, even if it's only an ounce of truth.

biggreenpen
biggreenpen

@KenMueller Now that we're having this conversation, little bits and pieces of that story are in my memory banks from my time at FSU in the mid 80s (and as a resident assistant for some reason you end up hearing 'em). I'll do some poking around - just bear with me it may take a while! 

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