Tag Archives | Urban Legends
Brent Swancer at Mysterious Universe explores the urban legends surrounding this place:
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The ominously named Shades of Death Road is a narrow, two-lane road which winds and meanders for 7 miles (11.2 km) through the middle of Warren County, NJ alongside the somewhat forbidding Jenny Jump State Forest. With its many twists and turns through low hanging trees and their somewhat skeletal looking branches stretching overhead, Shades of Death Road is certainly spooky enough already, but it is the great amount of macabre history, strange phenomena and high strangeness it is steeped in that truly make this a terrifying place to be.
Once known simply as The Shades due to lying under the dense canopies of the numerous ancient trees that line it, the Shades of Death Road has a long history of death and misery that make it well deserved of its current, more sinister title.
The repository of all that is brain-numbing — Facebook — is rife with one of the weirdest and dumbest rumors I have heard in many a moon. Halloween will fall on Friday the 13th for the first time in, yes, you guessed it, 666 years because Spookiness. And it’s not the first time that this brainfart of a prank has made the social media rounds.
Snopes unspools this nonsense:
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Although we’re ordinarily loath to trample the life out of simple jokes by dissecting the basis of their humor, the number of “Is this true?” inquiries we’ve received about this particular item compels us to address it.
For those who are pondering whether it’s really been 666 years since Halloween last fell on a Friday the 13th, we would point out that themid-autumnal celebration we know as Halloween does not date back nearly that far (i.e., to the year 1348 or earlier).
The Inquisitr brings us a very creepy tale of someone (or is it some thing?) terrorizing a New Jersey family.
The Watcher might not have the charm, style, and wit of the Zodiac Killer but he/she/it (NOT transphobic. Monsterphobic, maybe) certainly doesn’t suffer from a lack of moxie and they are clearly bourgeoisie as Hell so no loss there.
Did I write that or just think it?
Read on, True Believers:
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A New Jersey family terrorized by “The Watcher” have been forced out of their dream home. The stalker appears to have a “chip on his shoulder” about money, according to criminal profilers. The unknown and mysterious individual has sent eerie letters to the Westfield area family.Derek and Maria Broaddus received the first of the letters from The Watcher only three days after signing the deal to purchase the $1.3 million New Jersey home. The letters referenced the three children in the family as being “young blood.” The Westfield family was so terrified they never even moved into their luxurious dream home.
Mysterious Universe notes that a string of news stories around the turn of the twentieth century reported archaeological discoveries of hidden subterranean habitats and strangely large human remains:
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The most famous of these reports appeared in the April 5, 1909 edition of the Arizona Gazette, entitled “Explorations in Grand Canyon.” Explorer G.E. Kinkaid discovered a huge underground “citadel” while rafting on the Colorado River.
Exploring a tunnel that stretched “nearly a mile underground,” Kinkaid found tablets carved with some type of hieroglyphics, and home to a stone statue he described as resembling Buddha. Mummies, all wrapped in a dark fabric, were supposedly more than nine-feet-tall.
The New York Times reported a nine-foot-tall skeleton of a man discovered in a mound near Maple Creek, Wisconsin, in December 1897. The Times also carried the story “Strange Skeletons Found” near Lake Delevan, Wisconsin, in its May 4, 1912 issue. But an April 9, 1885 story entitled: “Missouri’s buried city: A strange discovery in a coalmine near Moberly,” revealed a find that predated the supposed citadel in the Grand Canyon by 24 years.
Toshers were scavengers who explored the vast, ancient sewers of Victorian London in search of lost coins and salvage, but even greater rewards awaited those fortunate enough to encounter the legendary Queen Rat. As Mike Dash of Smithsonian Magazine reports:
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…A second myth, far more eagerly believed, told of the existence (Jacqueline Simpson and Jennifer Westwood record) “of a mysterious, luck-bringing Queen Rat”:
This was a supernatural creature whose true appearance was that of a rat; she would follow the toshers about, invisibly, as they worked, and when she saw one that she fancied she would turn into a sexy-looking woman and accost him. If he gave her a night to remember, she would give him luck in his work; he would be sure to find plenty of money and valuables. He would not necessarily guess who she was, for though the Queen Rat did have certain peculiarities in her human form (her eyes reflected light like an animal’s, and she had claws on her toes), he probably would not notice them while making love in some dark corner.
Atlantic Cities examines legendary mythological creatures of our country’s metropolises, including the horned Goatman rumored to hide in Ft. Worth’s Lake Worth and the tiny red dwarf blamed for all of Detroit’s historical woes. Most of these reveal more about our collective psyche and fears rather than what is actually secretly living in our midst — although a notable exception is the mole people (lower left) living below the surface of New York, who turned out to be very real, if elusive.
What is it about this time of year that melts even the hardest disinfonaut scepticism? Sure, Santa Claus might be the old shamanic magic mushroom cult incarnate repackaged to dupe us all into developing a Pavlovian response to the Baron Samedi of consumerism that he has now become, but I’ve always suspected the rabbit hole went down deeper.
And then I came across this blog post by paranormal researcher Jeff Belanger:
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My friend Al told me he was struggling with telling his four-year-old daughter about Santa Claus. “It’s the only lie I’ve ever told her,” he said. I too have a four-year-old daughter and am currently in the thick of Santa Fever at my house, where we’ve been lauding Père Noël for the last three Christmases. He’s a legend I’m honored to propagate.
I study legends for a living. Monsters, ghosts, extraterrestrials, and ancient mysteries swirl around me like smoke from a smoldering campfire.
Thomas Crapper is an elusive figure: Most people familiar with his name know him as acelebrated figure in Victorian England, an ingenious plumber who invented the modern flush toilet; others believe him to be nothing more than a hoax, the whimsical creation of a satirical writer. The truth lies somewhere in between. Much of the confusion stems from a 1969 book by Wallace Reyburn, Flushed with Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper. Reyburn's "biography" of Crapper has often been dismissed as a complete fabrication, as some of his other works (most notably Bust-Up: The Uplifting Tale of Otto Titzling and the Development of the Bra) are obvious satirical fiction. Although Flushed with Pride is, like Bust-Up, a tongue-in-cheek work full of puns, jokes, and exaggerations, Reyburn did not invent the person of Thomas Crapper as he did Otto Titzling. In Flushed with Pride, Reyburn's satire rests on the framework of a real man's life. Thomas Crapper was not, as Reyburn wrote, the inventor of the flush toilet, a master plumber by appointment to the royals who was knighted by Queen Victoria, or an important figure whose achievements were written up in the Encyclopedia Britannica...
If you have older relatives, and they have email accounts, I’d guess that you’re pretty familiar with Snopes.com. It’s likely that, for the first few months of their sending you urgent messages about free Applebee’s dinners or gang members threatening people’s lives, you dutifully found rebuttals from Snopes to pass on, intending to limit occasion for embarrassment when they send such things to others. Then you realized that embarrassment is an emotion powerless against the potency of sheer terror. That no matter how often you demonstrated the fraud behind these emails and ones exactly like them with different brands and new murder plots, still the emails kept coming. Perhaps you even flagged these relatives as junk mail. Snopes is the tireless and passive scold of the Internet, calmly assessing any and all madness regardless of provenance, and ensuring that the truth is told. It stands patiently in a corner of the Internet, a stationary Diogenes called into action primarily in moments of spite. The offspring of a California couple with a penchant for urban folklore, the site originally focused on the sorts of nonsense mentioned above — rumors about people trying to give you free things or trying to rape you. As a result, that’s traditionally what was most common on the 25 Hottest Urban Legends page. And then came Barack Obama.