5 spooky urban legends you definitely heard as a kid

Did your older sibling scare you with these tales?

Photo by Trevor Cleveland on Unsplash

Urban legends are campfire fodder, told by kids and adults alike, all over the world. Many of these stories have been told for generations, focusing on a certain area of a town that’s “haunted” or some inexplicable sightings that seem to plague an area. Some may have originated as folklore, or told solely to teach kids a lesson — like not to play in dangerous areas.

Even if they haven’t been debunked, we now know these stories aren’t true… or do we? Were any of these urban legends told in your area? What stories did you hear at sleepovers growing up?

1. Ghost kids


If there’s anything scarier than ghost adults, it’s ghost kids. Which is probably why so many urban legends involve them. One of the most popular stories involving ghost kids is told to explain areas where a car in neutral will roll uphill. While these gravity hills are surprisingly common, many people in towns with them will tell stories of a school bus that crashed on that road. Apparently, if you sprinkle flour on your back bumper, once you reach the top of the hill, you’ll see the the fingerprints of the ghost kids who helped push your car up the hill…

2. Woman in White


The Woman in White is a popular urban legend about a woman in a nightgown or white dress, seen on the side of the road by drivers. This legend dates back to medieval times and spans countries — for example, her name is La Llorona in Latin countries and is also known as a White Lady throughout Europe —and despite where your local Woman in White hangs out, the story you heard growing up is probably similar. She lost her children and cries for them, bringing misfortune upon anyone who happens to see her.

In North Dakota, a road that leads through the Tetrault Woods is allegedly home to a White Lady whose baby died shortly after she was married, so she’s been spotted still in her wedding dress. Sometimes, this story includes a young girl instead of a woman, like the girl of Knock Knock Road in Michigan who… you guessed it, knocks on your window for help.

Image: Pixabay

3. Various bridges


Is there a rickety old bridge near where you grew up that you were warned not to walk or drive over because it was haunted? While you likely shouldn’t venture over out-of-service bridges in general, because they’re probably unsafe, it just sounded so much creepier to warn of a haunting or a ghoul than saying, “be sure to stay off that bridge, it could crumble under your feet.” Of course, mischievous kids ventured over the bridge anyway.

Image: Pexels

4. Gates of Hell


There’s a surprising number of alleged gates to hell scattered throughout the country, usually located in dilapidated old buildings or spooky areas of the woods just outside of town. This seems to be another legend started in an effort to keep kids out of areas that they shouldn’t be hanging out in.

In Alabama, there’s the Hell’s Gate Bridge that combines both bridges you shouldn’t cross and portals to hell. Just a few years ago, there were dozens of stories about a portal to hell that allegedly opened up in a house in Gary, Indiana.

Image: WikiCommons

5. Human/animal hybrids


This is a tale as old as time. Whether there’s a Bigfoot creature that's been spotted near your hometown or a goat man that your cousin swore he saw one night, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who was never spooked by some type of otherworldly creature as a kid.

Another urban legend that’s combined with bridges is the Goat Man of Pope Lick in Kentucky, who apparently hides under the bridge at Pope Lick Creek and lures people on to the train tracks. Louisiana has “the Grunch,” a gang of human/monster hybrids who hang out by Grunch Road, a dead end, looking for drivers to eat. Virginia has a story of a Bunnyman — really though, how scary can he be — who escaped from an insane asylum. We also can’t forget about the story of the legendary Jersey Devil, which dates all the way back to the 1700s.

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twighahn 32 months ago
Ranger Texas sits on a hellmouth shalom you are loved
twighahn 32 months ago
You didn't mention the Wendigo shalom you are loved
idkwut2use 43 months ago
Eeeyup! Always loved me some spooky stories and the Weird NJ magazine...
RobCertSDSCascap 53 months ago
Those would have made me laugh loudly during my childhood.
Being the youngest child toughens you up!
Also, this is as close as I got to #5.

hemi165 58 months ago
I heard a story of these 2 guys met up with this girl one night, they all hung out together
& they drove her home, she said come & pick me up tomorrow so we can hang out again. The next night they went to her home to pick her up & her mother answered the door & when they asked if the girl was home, her mother told them that she died a few years ago..........they never saw or heard from her again, they still can't explain it but it scared them both!!!!!!
SheriHeffner 66 months ago
I have never heard any of these tales, but I have heard that the mall in our area is about to collapse because it shakes, plus it's supposed to have a man that was killed and buried under the place while they were building it. This mall has been around for 43 years now. And still hasn't collapsed yet.
mike3316 67 months ago
Funny ..... the Hell's Gate bridge photo that you have for Alabama looks an awful lot like the Hell's Gate bridge that crosses the East River in New York City.
RedSamRackham 67 months ago
It was indeed a relief when a rotting wooden bridge in our neighborhood was replaced by a concrete structure. ☺
Greg 67 months ago
The man with the hook hand that ended with the hook hanging from the car door. I wounder how many of these urban legends started with parents trying to keep kids out of old buildings and off old bridges ect. Never thought of that origin until I read this.
RedSamRackham Greg 67 months ago
That was a classic campfire scary story. ♣
KathyMcKinny Greg 58 months ago
Didn't Andy Taylor tell that around a campfire in The Andy Griffith Show??
Dicazi 67 months ago
Sorry, the only "ghost kid" I heard about as a kid was 1 at the Boy Scout camp our church rented occasiinally. Never saw anything, even staying overnight.
None of the others at all.

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