Picture I took at White Point Gardens near the Battery in Downtown Charleston. This picture was taken within steps of the Stede Bonnet Monument.
Let's Talk History
Each state has their own list of legends, the unsolved and unexplained occurrences that take place from time to time. Some states have legends about monstrous beasts, stories of paranormal events or combinations two or more elements. My state has a great deal of those stories and the county that I live in hosts a great deal of paranormal talks.
Even had some classmates that were so kind as to share several of their paranormal experiences with the class. To kick off this road trip of sorts, we'll begin in South Carolina.
There were stories I heard from fellow classmates while growing up about strange things that occur at certain locations around town but little did I know how significant those stories would later become.
Downtown Charleston in General
At first mention, paranormal would come to mind before legend. Well that's how it pretty much starts. Charleston in general has a rich history with a mix of good and bad occurrences.
As soon as you reach the Downtown area, you are almost immediately engulfed in history as well as lore. The Ghost Walk/Haunted Tours was likely started in response to strange reports from individuals who experienced something they couldn't rightly explain. A good starting point for legends would be to explore The Battery.
There are lines of cannons and artillery, replicas I'm sure, that are lined up along the waterfront facing the harbor. If that doesn't do it for you take a walk down the waterline and past some historic buildings till you reach Adgers Wharf. A quaint spot but if you look diagonally, possibly toward the left, you'll see CV-10; aka USS Yorktown.
Legends have long been around as per word of mouth however they weren't taken to heart by all. Thanks to the Ghost Hunters crew, and possibly some others, these claims were brought to light during their eighth season when they came to investigate the rumors.
This particular tale I came across while watching Weird Travels during a past lineup on Travel Channel. This particular legend involves reports of a humanoid reptilian that resides in the wooded areas in Lee County. There have been a multitude of investigations about this elusive creature with none resulting in satisfactory explanations.
I didn't think much of this legend till another showed aired that shared some info about humanoid reptilians. Apparently, reports of these creatures are considered widespread but aren't publicized. Don't ask too many questions.
Before I start a big thank you to Kon4875 and USMC Girl* of Y!A; Kon for the question and USMC for the answer.
The Spook Light
According to USMC Girl and other eyewitnesses there are legends that revolve around this phenomenon. This is a light that won't stop following you while traveling back roads. This peaked my interest because for whatever reason a scene from a horror movie came to mind.
Red Fez Bridge Myth
A rather intriguing legend that involves a series of events. According to participants, once you stop at the bridge you have to turn your vehicle off. Next, you must exit your vehicle and circle it three times on foot. Once you are done, get back in and crank it up.
This is where things get a little unbearable. Your car isn't turning over and chances are you're nowhere near civilization. You exit thinking you find the problem after lifting the hood. Unfortunately upon exiting, screams start to bellow from out of nowhere.
The Haunted Pillar
This object is located in Augusta and intrigued me because it brought to mind this gemstone that has a similar M.O. At least one version of the tale does. The version that sparked the memory had something to do with making contact with the pillar.
Anyone who makes contact with the pillar is said to experience something most unpleasant. Countless tales exist that revolve around this object with a constant presence of paranormal.
*Name has changed since I last checked in.
Giant Gator Eating Pythons
When I first heard this I thought it was a case of mistaken identity. First species to come to mind was the anaconda; they're in Florida too. However, thanks to a newspaper article along with a photo shared in an episode of Swamp Wars on Animal Planet, it showed that pythons can grow large enough to consume gators and other large animals.
Unfortunately there's another legend that's about to become real: evasive species hybrids.
How can anyone say there's a volcano in Wakulla yet alone Florida you ask? Well, there are stories of smoke rising skyward from the swamp. Sure, pass it off as swamp game or what have you but very much like the Route 90 Marfa Lights tale (TX), this phenomenon has been observed for many years. I don't know if there is a volcano causing that smoke or not since no map i've looked at showed any signs of this in the area.
To date, no smoke is seen in that area but it doesn't keep one from wondering. According to reports, around 1886 the smoke stopped after an earthquake hit Charleston, SC which was felt as far south as northern Florida. Did some additional research; based on maps as well as history reports, Florida is not located near nor on a fault line.
Despite this, earthquake tremors can still be felt within the state from outside sources such as the one that took place in my home town some one hundred years before I was born.
Robert the Living Doll
Another tale courtesy of Weird Travel's from Travel Channel.
Robert used to belong to a little boy decades ago but now his home is in a museum. He became famous, sort of, by way of eye witness accounts from people walking past the house only to see him, the doll, standing in by himself in the window looking down at them. After some horror filled years, the doll was abandoned in the attic of the home after the owner, the former young boy, passed.
You'd think the tale of the horror doll would end there. Some workers/tour guides at the museum have been interviewed and shared their experience about the doll. Apparently, while in the room with him they begin to see his expression change right before their eyes. In a more recent interview, it was stated that the doll's hair was actually turning color; mainly gray.
Hell's Gate Bridge
According to the Oxford Paranormal Society if you stop on the bridge and turn around, the road behind you looks like the fiery gates of Hell. In another version, there's mention of a couple that died many years ago on this particular bridge. It goes on to explain that if you stop your car on the bridge and turn off the headlights, a member of the couple a member of the couple will actually get into your car.
How do you know they've been in your car? Well, it is said there will be a wet spot on the seat where they were sitting.
The Jacksonville Tunnel
It was said that during the construction of the tunnel that one of the workers fell into the cement form of the wall. Instead of helping him out, he was left where he fell. If you go through the tunnel and run your hands along one of the walls you will come across a cold spot in the wall; supposedly the cold spot is where his body is located.
Firstly, I would like to send out an advance apology for all those in Girl Scouts. This is by no means meant to scare you but will make for an interesting camp fire story.
White Plains Camp Cottaquilla has a very interesting legend involving a one armed girl coming out during Halloween to scare campers. Cool legend but it hasn't been investigated nor confirmed. Again, a wonderful camp fire story.
Callin' the Dog
Boy was I in for a surprised when my research began. One legend actually had me laughing to the point where I couldn't bring myself to type clearly. Callin' the Dog is one of my favorites that involves a man hosting a contest with a hound pup as prize.
The catch, you have to share a tall tale or some super lie. He was surprised to see all the stories pour in but had difficulty choosing because all were high quality. So this guy, who took keen interest in the pup, decided to give the contest a go.
He had the hardest time thinking of something to tell so he just told the guy that he never spoke a lie in his life. Result? He won the contest and the pup.
The location is pretty iffy since instances have occurred in a variety of locations in addition to this one. Now, I've heard the nursery rhyme and have seen some documentary of sorts on the Bloody Mary character. The goes that this lady by the name of Mary sold medical herbs and people often thought of her as a witch, hence the distance they placed between them and her.
One day, people started to note that some young girls were missing from the village and suspected Mary but had no proof. She was eventually caught and later burned but not before cursing the village. Sounds a little out there but thee have been young girls, for whatever reason, that tested this so called curse and wound up regretting it. Well, according to the legend if you say her name three times in a mirror she will be summoned and the caller will suffer.
This is a particularly difficult state to discuss in terms of urban legends. There is one legend I came across that involves zombies or the like. However the circumstances involving their zombie-like state are too complex to discuss.
Loosely translated, loup-garou is French for werewolf. These guys are relatively different from those associated with European folklore. I've read the legend and the basis of the story brought to mind another story I read however the focal character was a vampyre.
According to this tale, the loup-garou roams the streets at night looking for someone to rid them of their curse. If successful, the slayer must not utter a word of the incident to anyone for an entire year. If the slayer speaks of it before the year time frame, then they will suffer a similar fate.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Possibly a story that many think of or at least comes to mind when they hear Texas and urban legends in the same sentence. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of many Texas legends that top the list of being unforgettable. In both versions of the movie, there was the tag inspired by true events attached to the releases.
FACT: There was a gruesome event that inspired the movies.
FALSE: A family of chainsaw wielders attacked people and ate them.
To sum it up, Texas Chainsaw Massacre was inspired by a gruesome event that took place in Wisconsin some 64 or so years ago.
Giant Texas Rattlesnake
Yeah, I'm sure some of you have heard of this one along with the circulating email containing an image of a supposed 9-ft rattlesnake. I know it sounds a it far fetched but don't let the image deter you. It is possible for these guys to reach the stated size of 9ft plus.
Since, to my knowledge, there has been no record a of giant rattler being caught, it will possibly remain a legend. For now anyway.
Route 90 – Marfa Lights
This tale caught my eye out of the many which brought to mind a tale I'll share in Part 5. Compared to that legend, this one is pretty tame. This legend has been around, according to Weird Texas, since the late 1800s.
It's said that the lights appear in the desert region outside Marfa along Route 90. The lights are like floating orbs which zip around the area at random. Many have dismissed this legend as merely being headlights along the road; up until they hear when the first sighting of the lights occurred.
Weird Texas is definitely a book you'll want to check out to see the tales and legends of the state' including some first hand accounts.
When it comes to mysteries and legends mentioned in the same sentence as New Mexico, the first thing that comes to mind is Roswell; for some anyway. Though for me, hearing the name Roswell brings to mind a Class of 3000 episode I saw some years back. Anyway...Roswell is associated with a plethora of unexplained events that has left many with more questions than answers when whoops-y-daisies occur.
Well, one legend that is recurrent with Roswell*; let me finish. According to witnesses within earshot of the epicenter of this incident, a loud boom was heard during night time hours but not much was though of it due to the neighboring air base. However, in the morning that followed, wreckage was discovered that consisted of scrap metal and reportedly bodies (kind of bodies was not specified).
The media screams UFO but the military says no; even better, stated it was a weather balloon. There was an investigator, with the military, that confirmed the UFO reports but later came back with a “my mistake.” Despite the statements down playing the incident, there are many who believe the incident actually occurred. Who you ask? The witnesses of the crash of course.
You would think the tale ends here but it doesn't. This incident took place in 1947 and to this day in year (2014) there are still tales and reports coming out about incidents/occurrences similar to this one.
Urraca Mesa [aka Hell on a Mesa]
An interesting legend that has been confirmed by two individuals and lives on through stories exchanged by Native American tribes associated with the area in which the mesa is located. According to legend, a great battle took place long ago between the Anasazi Tribe and the Underworld. The Anasazi won the battle however at the cost of their shaman who are said to protect the area that leads to the Underworld.
So far, I read two accounts from individuals that had their own “OH CRAP!” moments while on the mesa; or should I say going the wrong way on the mesa. Apparently, if you head toward the western part of the mesa, you are likely to come across the area that is said to be shaped like a skull; apparently the portal to the Underworld. One of two thing will occur: 1) you'll find yourself face to face or within viewing range of some strange dark figures [*screams*] or 2) you'll cross paths with or see one of the shaman standing guard.
The Atari Mystery
This particular tale was perceived as a legend because it seemed a little far-fetched. Being a part-time gamer, I found the tale amusing and unusual.
It involves the once domineering game console giant Atari and a massive burial of Atari game systems out in the middle of nowhere. When I first heard the tale, it was stated that the games were dumped/buried in the desert area near the Area 51 Airbase. After some research, it turned out that the games were disposed of in New Mexico; more specifically, in its birth city.
Date: March 23, 2014
Well, I thought I would search the newspaper for more information on the book issue going on at one my state's colleges when I came across this article in the Saturday, March 22, 2014 paper. As soon as I read it I had to laugh. Apparently, an excavation/hunt was underway for the rumored burial site that was mentioned above. No joke.
Source of article: Post and Courier, page A16 in Briefs section.
*Roswell has come up a lot during my growing up and have obtained some of this information from documentaries featured on the History Channel as well as the Travel Channel. Sometimes the SyFy Channel if they're up to it.
While browsing the Weird US site for the state of Arizona, I came across a tale that peeked my interest because I could recall the legend of the Thunderbird as well as did a Discussion Question on it for a past course. Lo and behold this was no mere tale of the Thunderbird that I was familiar with but a story of a picture supposedly taken that features a dead specimen with several cowboys and the rear of a horse off to the left. The incident took place in 1892 which caused a story to be circulated in addition to an actual photograph.
Cool! Photo evidence! Slow your roll people. There's a bit of an issue with this here fore mentioned photo and the story associated. As stated, story and photo were taken back in the day during the late 1800s.
Capturing images by use of camera were possible during this time frame. The issue? No evidece of this so-called photograph can be found; however, there are countless individuals who can recount seeing the photo with their own eyes.
The story behind the Thunderbird legend that I heard was associated with the Condor who were often seen prior to thunderstorms.
Curse of the Petrified Forest
I just had to share this legend. Skipping the lecture I'll cut to the chase. Petrified wood is wood that has been preserved for millions of years by way of having organic matter replaced with mineral deposits that take on the tree's natural form.
According to park rangers who initially set up the tale to deter thieves, the legend of the Petrified Forest being cursed held some truth. Countless individuals have been noted to return their pilfered pieces back to the national park via mail due in part to things going down hill for them since they made off with pieces of petrified wood. Kind of brings to mind the Hope Diamond and its history of possessors.
Red Rock Vortexes
Visitors and Native Americans of the region state that there are various epicenters of energy that permeate the area. You can pass through them and not be harmed but may experience different emotions; which is dependent on which epicenter/vortex you visit. Of the locations Bell Rock is considered “potent” mainly due to the notion that UFOs are constantly spotted in this area.
Another potent area would be Boynton Canyon which is said to revitalize however you must gain permission and pay respect to the Kachina Man as well as Kachina Woman. Red Rock is one of five known areas in the world that plays host to this kind of phenomena.
Looking for more? Check out tales centering on Superstition Mountains which is located in Arizona. Not sure of any legends but I’m sure you’ll find something worth sharing with others.
Battle of Los Angeles
Not to be confused with the movie Battle: Los Angeles, this battle had more going for it in terms of confusion and urgency. That sentence sounded weird. After rereading the story – I wasn't expecting UFOs to be involved – it was finally understood that it was about UFOs; possibly. The title threw me off but this legend is said to have taken place in the night time hours in early 1942.
How in the world does this qualify as an urban legend you ask? Well, according to eyewitness accounts from both military and civilian alike, there was a lot of uncertainty about what was spotted in the night sky over the LA area. At the start of the fight, it was assumed that they were under attack by enemy aircraft; however, it was noted that these aircraft were moving way too slow to be any kind of plane yet alone fighter.
The urban legend aspect comes into play at the mentioning of 'unidentified objects' in the sky. Since there is a lot of mystery surrounding this occurrence, or rather confusion, it might as well be seen as a legend due to the fact that not everyone is certain about what transpired that night.
The Mystery Spot (Santa Cruz)
This tale caught my attention due to its likeness to the phenomenon associated with the Red Rock Vortexes. The difference here is that Red Rock is free while you have to pay to experience Mystery Spot. Optical illusions are fascinating to me yet I haven't been able to draw an illustration featuring it.
Here, optical illusions are a natural occurrence. Much like Red Rock, you are completely 'normal' till you cross into the vortex; once there, things are just weird-ish. Let me put it this way, think of those fun houses that purposely make things around you look way off. Reading the account that one of the authors had might make you laugh; they don't bead around the bush when it comes to observations.
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Part 2 Preview
How can things get any stranger? Simple, by referencing past times of yore and doing triple takes. Legends mentioned include but aren't limited to:
- a popular video game franchise of the 90s hinting to secrets of a heavily guarded area
- a nightmare stairway that shouldn't be traveled
- monstrous beasts roaming heavily wooded areas
- a pocket monster reference
- a bad if not corny joke
This has been a seriously strange trip thus far. Are you ready for Part 2?