| Scary, But True: Stories That Are Supposedly
You’re standing on a darkened corner. On the next block a street lamp basks
the ground in a circular glow. Fallen leaves of liquidamber skitter across the
corner of a well-trimmed lawn which is dotted with bright spots of orange and
way along the street toward you, each with a bulging bag of candy in tow. Their
distant shrieks and shouts of joy get closer.
An eerie feeling wells up in your gut telling you that someone is watching. Your
mind uncontrollably drifts to the long held legend of a ghost that haunts the
Agua Mansa Cemetery up the darkened street.
A ghostly figure has been reported by many to be wandering the cemetery and
along the road after dark. The locals say it is the ghost of La Llorona, the
As the story goes, the widowed La Llorona found a suitor, but was sure he’d
reject her because she already had 3 children. She drowned them late one
night after drinking a whole bottle of tequila. The next morning, she saw the
tiny, wet bodies of her beloved children laying on the porch. She screamed an
ungodly sound and went completely mad with grief and guilt.
Now, she spends her nights wandering and wailing, searching for her children.
Some of the old local men say that she is likely to snatch other people’s young,
living children if they misbehave or wander too far from a distracted parent.
especially touched the most popular and talented kids at the small high school.
An undefined supernatural force began causing mysterious "accidents" to
happen at the local high school.
screwdriver suddenly flew into the neck of Maria, as she talked about getting
an A on her English paper. Her friend Sarah lets out a horrified scream when
she sees a gush of blood squirting from Maria’s neck and down the front of her
pretty new white blouse.
Sarah saw the blood. And then she saw the screwdriver. It went deep into the
back of Maria’s neck. "Ohhhhh no!" Sarah squealed aloud. She knew at once
what had happened. The screwdriver had fallen from the bleachers above. It
had dropped straight down and now it was embedded in Maria’s neck.
Maria had been holding a hair brush, which had fallen to the ground when the
screw driver hit her. Sarah picked it up for Maria as paramedics wheeled
Maria off to the ambulance. Sarah thought to herself, “Maria may not be
herself for a long time.
Not even the school’s best football player was immune from the Evil that
seems to have invaded this tight knit high school. After the first football game
of the year, James, the handsome new line-backer on the school's team makes
a gruesome discovery. He was the last to leave the locker room. All the
other guys had left for home.
James stumbled upon Ken, the team’s star quarterback, who was lying near a
tree moaning. He lifted his face which had been laying pressed against the
cleated football shoes he wore for greater traction while running on grass.
He had tied the shoe laces together and slung them over his shoulder.
James let out a loud scream at the sight of Ken's face, dripping with blood
and pocked with cleat-shapped holes. The holes took the form of a five-pointed
pentagram. "He must have tripped," James said to himself.
This Evil supernatural spell seamed to grow touching many of the students who
attended the same school. A group of the teens had left before hearing about
the frightful happenings. Although the cabin was scary and old, the kids were
seeking a fun filled snowboarding weekend at a cabin retreat owned by one
of the girl’s parents.
The house was nestled high in the mountains. During the first evening someone
suggested that they play a game called Truth or Dare. Darling, the girl whose
parents owned the cabin (of coarse, they had gone to town for groceries), is
about to reveal something embarrassing about Jason, her boyfriend. Jason was
a quiet and shy boy.
Suddenly, upset that Darling would tell others anything about him, Jason went
into a frenzy of rage. He went berserk, charging at her with a fireplace poke.
She let out a frightened shriek as she shot out her hands as if to shield herself.
Jason stopped inches in front of her, breathing hard. He heaved the poker to
the floor. And with a furious cry he spun around and ran to the hallway door
leading out of the cabin.
The next morning, Darling turns up dead. Angela and Brant discover the body
when they went to wake her for breakfast. The rest of the teens left the
cabin immediately driving fast around each corner and down the mountain.
When they went to school Monday morning they were shocked that so many
bad, unnatural events had happened to their fellow school mates. The school
counselor suggested that all the students meet that night at the local
Christian church to seek help and solace from the minister.
Luckily, Reverend Thomas had a ritual he learned from a Native American
medicine man he roomed with at college. They all held hands in a circle as the
Reverend chanted and smoke wafted from burning sage. This broke the Evil
spell and the students could finally enjoy their last year of high school.
A young woman is driving alone at night on a deserted stretch of road. She
sees a female hitchhiker -- and stops. The hitchhiker tosses a bag onto the
backseat and starts to get into the front. The driver notices that the
hitchhiker's hand is large and hairy. The driver slams the door and drives off.
Later, she opens the bag and finds a bloodstained axe.
A teenage girl is babysitting three children, who are upstairs asleep. She
answers the phone and hears a man laughing hysterically. She hangs up. Fifteen
minutes later, the phone rings again. It is the same laughing man. The
babysitter phones the operator, who tells her that if he calls again, she should
keep him on the line so that the operator can trace the call. The girl does so.
The operator phones the babysitter and tells her to leave the house because
the man is calling from an upstairs phone. As the girl runs out, she sees the
man coming downstairs holding a bloody butcher knife, still laughing. She phones
the police, who arrest the man and find the bodies of the three children.
The Choking Dog
A woman comes home and finds her dog lying on the floor, choking. She drives
the dog to a veterinarian, who says that he will call her later. She returns
home. The vet phones and tells her to leave the house immediately -- and that
he has called the police. The woman runs outside. Later, she learns that the
vet found two fingers lodged in the dog's throat. The police find a man missing
two fingers, collapsed in shock in one of the woman's closets.
One night, a man and woman drive to a secluded spot near a darkened,
deserted house, which set next to a graveyard. While they are embracing, a
bulletin comes over the radio that a dangerous, deranged man has escaped
from a nearby institution. The man has an artificial arm. Later, they hear a
noise outside the car. Terrified, the young man starts the car and speeds
away. When they arrive at the woman's house, they discover a bloody hook
hanging on one of the car's door handles.
A family on vacation is driving in Mexico with a grandmother, who dies of an
apparent heart attack. To avoid the red tape involved when a person dies in a
foreign country, the family wraps her body in a blanket and ties it to the roof
rack. On the way home, they stop at a restaurant. When they come out, the car
A cement-mixer operator has a job in his own neighborhood and decides to pay
a surprise visit to his wife. To his surprise, he sees an unfamiliar convertible
in his driveway. He peeks through a window and sees his wife talking to a
strange man. Assuming that she is having an affair, the husband fills up the
convertible with cement. It turns out that the man was a car dealer and the
convertible was a birthday present for the husband.
The Underground Parking Lot
A woman leaves work late and goes to the underground parking lot. She finds a
woman in her car slumped over the steering wheel. The woman says that she is
feeling sick and asks the other woman to drive her home. The nervous car
owner excuses herself and goes to phone her husband. He tells her not to go
back to the car and says that he is going to phone the police. They find that the
woman in the car is really a man. They also find a bloody axe under the driver's
The Vanishing Child
A woman has taken her young son to Disneyland and, as she is standing in line to
buy tickets, she briefly turns away from him. When she looks back, the child is
gone. She alerts security. Twenty minutes later, a guard returns with the
child, whose blond hair is now black. The guards have caught a man coming out
of a washroom with the child and found a container of dye.
More Places With Scary Legends
Mellinger Death Ridge
Great Smoky Mountains
It's just a ridge, like so many others in the rugged Smoky Mountains, but this
one holds a gruesome tale. In 1903, blacksmith Jasper Mellinger was making
his way across the mountains as he often did, crossing between Elkmont and
Hazel Creek to visit friends or do a job for someone. The trails were faint,
more often used by bears than by people, but Mellinger knew every inch of
these woods, or at least that's what he thought.
Near the top of the ridge, Mellinger stepped over a log, heard the sound of
metal clicking, and suddenly felt incredible pain seize his leg. He had stepped
directly into a bear trap set illegally by poachers.
The steel jaws of the trap slammed shut on his leg with the sickening sound of
splintering bone. Although he was strong from a lifetime of working the forge,
the pain was intense and the blacksmith could not pry himself free from the
trap that held him in a death grip. After hours of trying desperately to free
himself, Mellinger began to weaken.
Far from help, exposed to the weather, with no food or water, and expecting
no one to look for him. Jasper Mellinger began to die.
Days passed. Finally the poachers returned to check their trap for bears and
instead found Mellinger, bloody, battered, and barely alive. The stories don't
say whether he was conscious, but if he was, he was disappointed. The two men
knew Mellinger was hurt badly and that without help he would not last long.
They also knew that to bring him back to town was to admit they had been
trapping bears illegally, a crime punishable by a fine or jail sentence. So they
committed a worse crime, clubbing the trapped, semiconscious Mellinger to
death and rolling his body over the ledge.
The bones were discovered two years later and identified by the scraps of
clothing and the contents of the pockets, although the cause of death was
mistakenly recorded as a fall from the ridge.
For decades, the Smokies held the gruesome secret and the mystery went
unsolved. One of the poachers took the awful truth to his grave. But the other,
sworn to secrecy so many years ago, was haunted by the deed. On his
deathbed, overcome with guilt, he confessed to the crime and told the true
story of Mellinger Death Ridge.
Today, the ridge is rarely visited. There are just a few faint trails in the area
and nothing but a name on the maps to mark the tale of Jasper Mellinger.
Gunnison National Forest,
In the winter of 1873, six men, including one Alfred Packer, walked into the
teeth of a winter storm in Colorado's San Juan Mountains. The following spring
only Packer walked out, telling a tale of starvation and death. But he didn't
look like a man who had endured hunger and hardship.
According to one witness,
having suffered from severe winter weather, lost in wild uninhabited
country with the thermometer showing 30 and 50 degrees below zero on
many mornings . . . here was the man alive and seemingly none the worse
for his experiences."
In short, Packer looked good, too good.
Questions surfaced about the fate of the other five men. One traveler
claimed to have come across mutilated bodies near the place where Packer
said he and his companions were trapped by the storm. On May 4, 1874, Packer
signed the following confession:
"Old Man [Israel] Swan died first and was eaten by the other five persons
about ten days out of camp. Four or five days afterwards [James] Humphreys
died and was also eaten....
Some time afterwards while I was carrying wood, the butcher [Frank Miller]
was killed--as the others told me, accidently--and he was also eaten [Shannon]
Bell shot California [George Noon] with Swan's gun and I killed Bell. Shot him.
I covered up the remains and took a large piece along. Then traveled fourteen
days to the Agency."
Packer was promptly arrested but escaped a few months later. He was finally
caught and on Friday the 13th, 1883, Alfred Packer was found guilty and
sentenced to be hanged. A technicality prevented the order from being
carried out and he was instead sentenced to 40 years in jail. On January 10,
1901, he was I paroled. He died in 1907.
Today, the place where Colorado's only convicted cannibal spent that fateful
winter is part of one of the largest undisturbed stretches of alpine tundra in
the country. Cannibal Plateau is part of a 70,000-acre wilderness study area,
and its name commemorates the deeds of a Coloradoan who, as one politician
put it, truly "served his fellow man."
Yellowstone National Park,
This small valley on upper Cache Creek is one of those places Jesuit missionary
Pierre-Jean De Smet had in mind when he called Yellowstone "The abode of
evil spirits . . . a kind of hell." In Death Gulch, when the wind blows just right,
or more accurately when it doesn't blow at all, thermal activity from nearby
geysers can brew up a noxious cloud of unbreathable gases.
Although no human facilities are known to have occurred because of the gases,
wildlife has at times paid an awful price. After a hike into the gulch in 1897,
Dr. T.A. Jaggatt called the area "a frightfully weird and dismal place, utterly
without life." After noticing what he termed "an appalling odor," his group
encountered an unbelievable scene.
about the floor of the ravine. Approaching cautiously, it became quickly
evident that we had before us a large group of recumbent Rears; the
one nearest to us was lying with his nose between his paws, facing us,
and so exactly like a huge dog asleep that it did not seem possible that
it was the sleep of death.... One huge grizzly was so recent a victim that
its tracks were still visible in the white earthy slopes, leading down to
the spot where he had met his death."
No other cause of death was visible to Jaggar, and he concluded that "there
can be no question that death was occasioned by the gas." The group departed
quickly, not wanting to be exposed to the deadly air.
THE WITCH TREE
Lake Superior, Minnesota
In silhouette and from a distance it can look like a battered witch's broom. Up
close its twisted roots clutching the bare rocks of the Lake Superior
shoreline can look like the gnarled fingers of an old hag.
But the name for this 400-year-old cedar that seems to spring directly from
stone comes from none of these images. "Ma-ni-do-gee-zhi-ghance," the
Chippewa called it, Spirit Little Cedar Tree.
For perhaps thousands of years paddlers of all kinds, from Native Americans
to the French-Canadian voyageurs to modern-day sea kayakers, have stopped
at this lonely outpost and placed gifts in the roots of the Witch Tree,
offerings for safe passage on Lake Superior's waters. It was someone who did
not understand the sentiment behind these offerings who dubbed it "The
THE GOBLIN AND MANY DEVILS
Hells Canyon National
Recreation Area, Idaho
A Native American legend tells of a Shoshone hunter who went searching for
deer and elk among this maze of peaks and became lost. Night was falling and,
fearful for his life, he shouted out for help. A devil appeared, giving him
directions. The hunter ran. Another devil appeared, and another, and another,
until there were seven devils in all. The hunter survived to tell the tale, and
since that time these peaks have been known as The Seven Devils.
A better Halloween spot is hard to imagine. You can hike beneath She Devil
Peak, camp along the shore of He Devil Lake, listen to the wind whistle through
Devils Tooth, sit on the edge of Devils Throne, fish on Devils Farm Creek 'n'
gaze up at rock formations such as The Goblin, Twin Imps, and The Ogre.
The range is part of the 652,488-acre Hells Canyon National Recreation Area,
the second-largest NRA in the country. A proposal is in the works that would
combine these mountains, Hells Canyon, the Wallowa Mountains, the Eagle Cap
Wilderness, and other nearby lands to create the largest national park unit in
the Lower 48 outside of Yellowstone Park.
Isle Royale National Park,
When the winds of October moan over Lake Superior, there are many voices
behind the sound, from the famous wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald to the
lesser known inhabitants of this small island on the southern shore of Isle
Royale. Here, the fog mingles with the branches and shrouds several old grave
sites among the trees.
The graves mark the final resting place of miners and their families who
worked the first of three copper booms on Isle Royale from about 1845 to
1855. New grave markers have been installed by the National Park Service,
but still carry the original epitaphs and dates. testimony to the hard life of
the island a century ago.
There may be another body, besides the mining families, buried somewhere on
Cemetery Island. On September 19, 1891, a major storm swept in from Lake
Superior. A watchdog (appropriately named "Watch") belonging to John Malone,
the long-time keeper of the Isle Royale Lighthouse, broke free of its leash
during the storm and was struck by lightning. In his journal, Keeper Malone
tells of burying his trusty dog Watch on a nearby plot of land that may have
been Cemetery Island.
Tonto National Forest, Arizona
These mountains hold solitude, mountain lions, black bears, incredible beauty
and, just maybe, the Lost Dutchman gold mine. Back in the 1840s, according to
the tale, a Spanish family by the name of Peralta had a gold mine on the
western edge of these mountains.
The mine was later rediscovered by an old dutchman named Jacob Waltz who
guarded the location jealously. Many tried to follow the Dutchman, or trick the
old man into letting the mine's location slip. Although some claim that Waltz
gave confused details and directions to the mine to friends before his death,
he took the exact location of the mine and the extent of its riches to his grave.
Even today, it is not unheard of for hikers to see people leading burros off
into these mountains, still searching for gold. Over the years, there have been
several unexplained homicides that some feel were connected to the
whereabouts of the Lost Dutchman Mine. For now, nobody knows, or at least no
one is saying, whether this 159,757acre wilderness area holds more than just
Brett, J. Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting. 1988.
Brunvand, J. Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The Book of Scary Urban Legends.
Eng, J. C. Scary Urban Legends. 2010.