In Part 1 we explored the history and legend rich states of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. As we got closer to the West Coast, tales of mysterious sky flyers increased in frequency. The tales were just getting stranger and stranger as we traveled on.
Part 1 was a doozy however Part 2 is sure to be a treat. Without further ado, I present to you Urban Legends by State Part 2.
W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G. by Pitchshifter starts playing in my head because at the sheer mention of Area 51's Hangar 18, images of Twisted Metal 3 start playing in my head. Despite the somewhat off topic response, Area 51's Hangar 18 is more than a video game stage and more than just a plain ole hangar for typical use. Stories abound tell of how Hangar 18 was housing grounds for wreckage of an unidentified aerial space craft.
According to rumors, its not just this hangar but the entire area of Area 51 is doused with stories involving the unexplained including not-so-easy to cover up events involving strange objects appearing in the night sky.
Buried Alive at Hoover Dam
According to rumors, during construction there were men that were buried in concrete as it was being poured. Based on information provided by those who oversaw the construction, the concrete was poured in small increments which made it next to impossible for anyone to get buried. Though if anyone had fallen, their rescue would have been swift.
Despite the "happy" ending, it doesn't do much to overshadow the fact that people did die during the construction of the dam. As far as I know, none of the deaths involved anyone getting buried alive.
Lake of the Dead
Welcome to Lake Tahoe! Unfortunately in the urban legend arena, Lake of the Dead has become Lake Tahoe's nightmarish alias. Rumor has it that the lake use to, and possibly still is, being used as a body dumping ground for silk-clad thugs.
The only person, according to the reports, that has explored the depths of the lake is Jean-Michel Cousteau [son of the famed underwater explorer]. Apparently, he dove down to the depths to explore only to surface some time later. As far as anyone knows, his findings weren't shared.
Amazon Price: $16.00 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 9, 2015)
If you still have the classic console or some other means of accessing this game, listen carefully to the announcer, Calypso, as he gives the introduction. Hard to believe his words didn't register till years later while watching documentaries on mystery hangars.
One of the things that came to mind when I saw the title was a children's book by the same title; however, the children's tale is more pleasant. The Waterbabies legend is rooted within the state as well as Idaho. That legend takes place at Lake Utah and involves frightening creatures that lure unsuspecting victims into the water.
Legend has it that if you hear the cries of a baby in the area of the lake, stay far away or lest you dragged to your death.
I've heard of this legend before but couldn't quite remember the location; saw something about it on television. This legend involves vehicles rolling up a hill rather than down when left in neutral. The one I was exposed to involved vehicles rolling up hill over a railroad crossing.
With the railroad crossing version when a car is left in neutral, the car will roll up hill over the tracks. Once on the other side, when you inspect the back of the vehicle tiny fingerprints are found; which hinted at the vehicle getting pushed up and over the tracks by someone(s) unseen to the occupant. The scare factor was enhanced with some experimenters stating to hear children screaming near the tracks.
Well, this legend was solved various times by different groups that have debunked the legend as a mere illusion. It looks like you're going up hill when you're actually going down. Where did the tiny fingerprints tidbit come from you ask?
Well, there was a story published in the newspaper some time ago about a terrible bus accident. The bus was trying to get over the railroad tracks but got stuck; you can fill in the rest. This being a gruesome accident, people have always thought the children were the ones pushing their vehicle up and over the railroad tracks as a way to keep history from repeating itself.
Well, after investigating - I'm referencing the experiment conducted by Chuck Nice* - the screams that people keep reporting aren't actually those of children. Down the road a ways is a farm that has these birds (can't remember if they were peacocks or something else) that make call that can at times sound like screaming children.
As an update, the railroad crossing in question wasn't the same that was mentioned in the newspaper. The one in the newspaper was located in another state.
*Chuck Nice is known as an all around television personality. Some years ago he set out to investigate some intriguing mysteries and one of those mysteries involved Gravity Hill.
A living dino? In my area, depending on who you talk to, that phrase "living dino" could land you in the loony house; or at least sent to consult a therapist. This particular tale can be found in the Fauxtography section of the Snopes site.
Based on the information presented, there are little dinos supposedly roaming Colorado; possibly in the non-human populated areas. Despite the reports from eyewitnesses, this story/tale is tagged as an urban legend because despite sightings, there is little to no concrete evidence. Even the picture provided does little to help the story.
An awesome thanks to Big B Bob and others of Waymarking dot com for sharing intel on this find. Upon entering the Lafayette area you may catch wind of a grave that is said to belong to a vampyre. The documents state that a visitor [Fodor Glava] from Transylvania came to the area in the early 1900s.
The way the story goes, it was assumed that he was a vampyre which explains the incident of a stake driven through his chest. Based on that, the tree that is growing from the middle of the grave is said to have sprouted from the stake that was driven into him. Natives of the area suggest that people should visit the cemetery where the grave is located after dusk; or at least dare them to do so.
Those that have done so, claim to see a strange figure near the grave of this "vampyre." Based on the descriptions given by eyewitnesses, his appearance sounds similar to that of Slenderman.
This tale was discovered while watching Mysteries at the Museum - 7/17/2014.
This particular legend focuses on a mysterious phenomenon known as thoughtography which involves the process of taking pictures with your mind. Well this is considered a legend to some because the process either seems too complex to pull off or too extraordinary to be actual. The focus of this legend is Ted Serios who was brought to Colorado to under go experiments, within a controlled environment, involving his ability to take pictures with his mind.
The researcher, Jule Eisenbud, thought the guy was nothing more than a drunk wanting attention. However; after careful examination and test photos, the researcher changed his tune. Apparently Serios could project whatever mental image he wanted onto undeveloped film.
He was observed every step of the way but still there were those that gave him a hard time about his special ability. Unable to take the harsh words any longer, he projected one final thoughtograph which was an image of curtains. After this, no more thoughtographs were done.
Was this real? Hard to say especially since the observation was cut relatively short ; when compared to normal length observations/studies. In addition, after his final session he lost his ability to do these particular photos.
It's a fascinating tale and the camera that was used in the experiment along with his special tools, rolled up paper tubes, are located at the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery on the University of Maryland's (Baltimore County) campus.
The Descending Staircase
There is no shortage of tales that have been shared over the years and Kansas is no exception to the rule. This legend places focus on this mystery staircase that supposedly leads into the Underworld. One of the official names for this legend is The Gateway to Hell.
Stumping grounds for this legend is in Stull, KS which is located within the county of Douglas [did a Google search]. Legend has it that there is a church located here that has no roof yet the elements never reach the interior. For example if its raining outside, there would be no rain inside despite the fact the structure has no roof.
Another insert makes mention of a pine tree [a relatively healthy one] that split a headstone while it grew. Under mysterious circumstances both the tree and church structure were taken down. It was mysterious because there was no explanation as to why the actions were taken and why they were taken without consent of the land's owners.
Many state that the aura of Stull is quite dark as well as eerie. There was even mention of strange occurrences taking place during specific times of the year; one being Hallow's Eve. Some even speculate that there is a staircase located some where on the property that leads to the Underworld; however it is difficult to find.
Even if one does manage to locate the stairway they must never venture forth for they will never return from whence they came. Some believe that this was the reason behind the taking down of the church and pine tree. From their perspective, it felt like these were markers/hints to where the stairway may be located.
Those responsible for the demolition deny these claims. The only response they provided was that the pine tree was old and needed to come down. Its a strange legend in itself because there are so many questions with little to no answers that will appease the mind of the curious.
The Bender Family
After reading some of the details it brought to mind the Texas Chainsaw Massacre legend; which was inspired by gruesome crimes that took place outside of Texas. Wouldn't be surprised if this legend was used as inspiration for the movie as well. The legend revolves around a family that worked in unison to lure in unsuspecting individuals with the promise of a safe have during their stay.
Well, the stay would often times be longer than expected thanks to the family doing in their guests while they relaxed in the sitting area. Legend has it that after the guest(s) are offed, the Benders would rob and mutilate the bodies before dumping them through a trap door. Later in the night they would fetch the corpse(s) and bury them out back.
The whole legend about the family and the motive that lead to such acts is pretty much unknown. Worse so, no one knows what became of the family after they disappeared during the night. All that is known is that they were German immigrants.
Not really an urban legend but an interesting tale nonetheless. It was said that after the death of his wife, Mr. Davis spent $200,000 on a memorial for her. Many people disliked this lavish spending toward a dead person and ridiculed him for it.
According to the site, this was during the height of the Great Depression. I became a bit confused by the complainers. Reason? Well, it takes people to create and build things. Wouldn't this have translated as good news since his request put some people to work for good pay?
The Ozark Howler
This is a legend that spans about four states; Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas. Sightings and reports have been around for many if not hundreds of years. Some speculate that legend as nothing more than creative imagination while others feel its genuine.
The description of the creature is said to be very large with dark fur and menacing cry; or howl if you will. After examining the description given to some cryptozoologists, some feel its associated with the hell-hound legend in England [wrote a paper on them some time ago].* Not much is known aside from the consistent description of appearance, sound and the preference of living in isolated areas.
This legend is from Native American folklore. The legend will either focus on a single individual or group of pygmy people that dwell in neighboring wooded areas. The legend varies per tribe and their nature can be anything from playful to menacing if one was not careful.
*Beast of Dartmoor or Hounds of Odin - legend of either a single or pack of feral demon dogs that are said to roam the English countryside around a specific time of year.
This monster is basically another title associated with Sasquatch and Bigfoot-like creatures. Reported sightings of this creature go as far back as the late 1960s. Since this is like a Bigfoot tale, the same M.O. applies.
There are always a multitude of sightings within a particular area usually along a roadway surrounded by woods or near areas close to a water source; like a river, lake and or stream in some cases. I'm pretty sure that just about every state has their own Bigfoot-like legend.
The Vanishing Hitchhiker
This is a legend, like some others, came to life after an actual event; usually a horrid one. As the tale goes, while driving down a stretch of the old 65 Highway, you may/will come across a female hitchhiker that will request a ride home. Upon reaching the home, you will see that the girl has disappeared from the vehicle.
Every year around the time of her accident, people are said to have come across her on the road. Many have actually spoke with her parents who grant the unsuspecting drivers an explanation of what just occurred.
A legend that initially took place else where but decided to place it here due in part to the researcher responsible for identifying this creature graduated from one of the state's universities. MacFarlane's Bear has been one of great debate over the years because no one can agree on what it is and how to properly classify its species. Some speculate that its a hybrid of two large bear species while others feel its a completely new species.
How in the world does this count as a UL you ask? Well, there is a lot of disagreement about the creature in general and several variations on its physical appearance. Physical evidence suggests it to be new and undiscovered while eyewitness accounts lead to the belief of it being a hybrid of two known species.
In fact, the Latin classification name has been changed repeatedly by experts within the field. Variations plus uncertainty equals urban legend.
The Wampus Cat legend is present here and within the state of North Carolina. This particular version was brought to life by a Cherokee folktale that involved a half human half wildcat creature that dwells in the wooded areas of Eastern Tennessee. The tale goes that if you hear their call, a death will occur in the days that follow. Yet, surprisingly, its being utilized as a mascot by some organizations.
This version of the wampus cat is said to be pretty laid back until angered. The same goes with the physical appearance; large and black with red hindquarters.
A Bigfoot-like creature inspired from Native American folklore. The difference here is that this creature is said to be a grand hunter with incredible strength along with the ability to sense people's thoughts. There is even speak of tribesmen consulting him for training up and coming hunters.
You wouldn't think that such a creature would be an urban legend due to their appearance in folklore along with sightings by a multitude of people. Nonetheless, he's considered a legend due to lack of solid evidence.
The Hoop Snake
The Hoop Snake of Wake County is one to marvel at due to its appearance in tales of the Ol' West. According to accounts, this particular snake "rolls" after its dinner rather than slither. Its said that it can put its tail in its mouth to form a wheel of sorts enabling it to roll; think, lasso.
I personally haven't seen a snake do this; neither on educational programming nor real life. Its an interesting tale in itself with some plausible explanations of how it came about. There are several instances where reports came across snakes eating their own tails out of confusion; or at least that's what I've gathered.
Bad Joke a Coming
Don't ask why but this song started playing in my head while reading the Hoop Snake Legend. "Rawhide" is the theme song for the 1950s production of the same name. "Rawhide" is sung by Frankie Laine.
The Bunny Man
There are some interesting legends out there but this one caught my eye for the state of Virginia. This legend isn't as child friendly as the name implies because it revolves around a man dressed in a bunny suit armed with an axe.
Though the accounts vary from person to person, all share similar content. In one of the variations, there's mention of him appearing near or around Hallow's Eve at Colchester Overpass where some claim is the place of his death. Circumstances leading to his demise vary as well with one insisting he was hit by a train while running from authorities.
The Richmond Vampyre
Another interesting legend that sprung into mainstream culture. Though mentioning the name brings to mind horror stories usually reserved for special gatherings, this particular tale is based on occurrences that started after a tragic event. Apparently the legend begins after the collapse of a tunnel near Church Hill.
After the collapse, it was said that a mutilated figure came out of the rubble and made a break toward the neighboring cemetery where it disappeared in a mausoleum.
TRUE: There was a horrific event that involved a collapsed tunnel.
TRUE: A mutilated figure came out of the rubble and ran in the direction of the nearby cemetery; which was also near a river.
FALSE: The mutilated figure was not a vampyre.
FALSE: The figure did not disappear into a mausoleum.
Not sure how the vampyre legend sprung from this event but facts were presented that explained the appearance of the ghastly figure along with their name. One would think the legend would end there; however, things got stranger as the day went on. While sifting through the rubble for possible survivors, it was discovered that the bodies - that were suppose to be present - weren't where they should have been.
Of the workers that were in the tunnel at the time of the collapse, there were two that remained. The one that escaped on their own and another that was trapped in the train compartment.
Just hearing the term roadkill can bring a variety of thoughts to mind. Even though this isn't a tall tale, it still feels like an urban legend because its too strange to be true. Unfortunately we can't get all that we want. This had to start off as an urban legend but later because reality.
So real in fact, that there's an event in its honour: Roadkill Cook-off. You heard right folks; a Roadkill Cook-off. This not so little event is ever growing in popularity and is held during the Autumn Harvest Festival on the last Saturday of September; kind of guessing here based on the image provided on the Weird US site.
You would think this sort thing would be illegal but the state has in fact passed a law making it okay to do so; even Andrew Zimmerman was in awe. Like the old saying goes; waste not.
Weeping Woman of West Virginia
She is a statue that is located in Riverview Cemetery within the area of Parkersburg. It is said that she is the caretaker of the Jackson Family graves; relatives of General Stonewall Jackson. There are stories circulating about how she comes to life and roams the grounds at night.
An interesting legend that has been experienced by a multitude of individuals, each with their own strange/nightmarish accounts. The Mothman legend has surfaced time and time again over the years with sightings being anywhere from random to almost too convenient for acknowledgement. Some believe the legend while others passed it off as an old wives tale.
Despite this, some take the legend very seriously even to the point of tying any sighting of the creature to mayhem; like that bridge collapse in 1967. Myth or not, there are still people who see this creature as real. Even to the point of erecting a statue in Gunn Park.
What fascinated me about the legend was how a particular Pokemon (Absol) was modeled after them; aura wise. When he was introduced in an episode of the show, people associated him with disaster. Mainly, much like Mothman, he always makes an appearance prior to a bad event. He has a menacing appearance and slightly reddish eyes; just like the Mothman as reported by eyewitnesses.