1. Colette's Doll:
"I heard a story when I was in third grade that scarred me for life. One night, a little girl named Colette woke up to someone singing, 'Colette, I’m in your sister’s room, I’m in your sister’s bed, and now she’s dead.' Colette ran into her sister’s room to find her dead with a doll on top of her. Her parents threw the doll away, but the next night, Colette was awoken again: 'Colette, I’m in your parents’ room, I’m in your parents’ bed, and now they’re dead.' She ran into her parents’ room to find them dead with the doll sitting on top of them. She threw the doll away again, but the next night, she was awoken again: 'Colette, I’m in your room, I’m in your bed, and now you’re dead.' And she felt something poke her neck, and she died."
2. The Haunted Pool:
"I went to a boarding school in rural England with an outdoor pool — one of those old-school Victorian ones with thick iron grates at the deep end. It was widely believed that a boy had once drowned when his leg became trapped in the grates. One of the other boys who had been using it at the time swore he saw something behind the bars clawing at his leg. Years later, another boy was playing in the pool when he suddenly started shouting and swearing angrily at the others in the pool, claiming that one of them had tried to pull him under. I never saw anything while using the pool...but I never went to the bottom of the deep end."
3. Clara Got Stitched to the Wall:
"Clara is home alone and gets a phone call: The person says, ‘I am death; I will gouge our your eyeballs and stitch your mouth shut, and I am two blocks away.’ They call again and say the same thing, but they’re one and a half blocks away, then one block, then down the street, then at the front door. Clara goes to look out her front window and sees no one there, but when she turns around, she sees a grinning man holding a sewing kit. When her parents get home, they find her dead body stitched to the wall, with her eyes and mouth stitched shut."
4. Killer in the Backseat:
The story goes that a woman is driving at night on the highway and is being followed by a truck. The truck keeps flashing its lights at her, and she thinks he's chasing her. However, when she gets home, she discovers that the man was flashing his lights to warn her about a murderer in her backseat — every time he saw the murderer rise to kill her, he flashed his lights and the murderer ducked back down.
"I couldn’t get in a car for years without checking the backseat, even though I knew it was just a story."
5. Blood Alley:
"There's a winding highway in rural California named Pacheco Pass that's been nicknamed Bloody Alley because of how many accidents have happened on it. There’s a legend that if you drive it at night, a truck comes up behind you with its headlights really bright, and when you look in your rearview mirror, you’ll see a woman in your backseat who screams, then disappears."
6. The Tale of Kuchisake-Onna:
It's about a Japanese woman whose husband cut a smile on her face after she cheated on him. Her ghost approaches on foggy nights wearing a mask and asks people if they think she's pretty. She then pulls down her mask and asks again — if you say no, she'll kill you, and if you say yes, she'll cut the same smile on your face. Apparently, you can get away by confusing her or offering her an amber candy.
"The one that always got me, and the one that I still think about to this day, is Kuchisake-Onna. I used to randomly wonder what I'd say to her to avoid death. Sleep well, everybody!"
7. Bloody Mary:
"My mom told me the story of Bloody Mary when I was way too young to hear it. If there is anyone who is not familiar with it, it’s basically that if you say 'Bloody Mary' three times into a mirror in a dark room, the gruesome ghost of a woman will appear in the mirror. My mom left out the part where she reaches out of the mirror to claw your face off or drag you to hell, but it still left me with a phobia of mirrors that lasted until high school."
8. The Rake:
"I was an urban legend junkie as a teen, but one that put me off of them for a solid year was 'The Rake.' A mother and father were asleep when they felt something sit on the bed. When they looked, they saw a skinny figure with hollow eyes staring back at them. Then it ran out of the room and into the child's bedroom. By the time they got there, it was too late — their daughter was bloody and dying, the creature gone. The daughter's last words were, 'He is...the Rake.' The idea of arriving too late to save my loved one freaked me out so bad, I wouldn't even say 'the Rake' for five years."
9. The Tanning Woman:
"I'm not sure why this scared me so much, but it's the urban legend of the woman who went tanning before her wedding so often that she was cooked from the inside out and smelled like rotting beef. I never went tanning after hearing that."
10. Resurrection Mary:
"My favorite has always been 'Resurrection Mary.' It’s a ghost story from Chicago.
"Since the 1930s, several men driving near Resurrection Cemetery have reported picking up a young, formally dressed female hitchhiker. When the driver nears the cemetery, the young woman asks to be let out and then disappears into the cemetery.
"The story goes that Mary stormed out of the Oh Henry Ballroom after an argument with her boyfriend. She had not gotten very far when she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, who fled the scene and left Mary to die. Her parents buried her in Resurrection Cemetery, wearing a beautiful white dancing dress and matching dancing shoes. The hit-and-run driver was never found."
11. This Is My Stop:
"A woman and a man were driving home from a party, and the woman told the man, 'This is my stop,' near a graveyard. There was a house nearby, so he just thought she meant there. He gave her a ribbon and she left. The next day, he wanted to make sure she was okay, so he went to the house and asked, 'Did your daughter get home safely?' The man at the house was like, 'WHAT DAUGHTER!?' The guy showed him a picture, and the man said his daughter had died 20 years ago. They guy went to her gravestone and found the ribbon there."
12. The Man in the Woods:
"The house I grew up in had big ditches and massive trees running through the property (the area would flood frequently). The ditches were so big that we built little bridges over them in some areas. My older sister told me that a man lived in the woods behind our house and liked to hide in the ditch to grab people and pull them in. He'd hold them there until nighttime, when he’d bring them into the woods and kill them. She also said that if you ran across the ditch and got away from him, he’d eventually get frustrated and come into the house to get you. I firmly believed this and would make my dad walk me around the house to show me that all the doors and windows were locked."
13. Humans Can Lick Too:
The story goes that a girl feels her dog lick her hand as she's falling asleep, but then she wakes up and finds her dog dead, with "Humans Can Lick Too" written in blood on the wall.
"The 'Humans Can Lick Too' one has stuck with me for 10 years, and I hate seeing my bathroom door open at night because I'm convinced I'll see my dog there."
14. The Boulder
"There was this story about two mean boys who did awful pranks and tortured animals. One day they encountered a cat that had just given birth. They took her kittens and snapped their necks for fun while the mother cat could only watch helplessly.
"The following day, the boys were walking deep in the forest and found a cave that was blocked by a heavy boulder. Together they managed to move the heavy stone just enough so that one of the boys could climb inside while the other held the entrance open. At that moment the mother cat, who had followed them, attacked the boy at the entrance and clawed his eyes out. He let go of the boulder, trapping his friend inside. After days, he managed to wander back to the city, but he remained blind and could never show the way back to his friend."
15. The Waving Clown:
"I don’t know if this was in a book or anything, but my friends told me this story when I was a kid, and I was terrified:
"There was once a babysitter taking care of a baby while the parents were out. The first time she went upstairs to check on him, the baby had a scratch on his cheek, but she thought nothing of it. She also saw a clown waving from the neighbor's house, and she waved back awkwardly. About 20 minutes later, she went upstairs again and the baby had another scratch on his cheek. She found a pin near him and threw it in the dustbin. The clown was outside again, waving at the babysitter. She went back downstairs, but after a few minutes, she became paranoid and went back to check on the baby. This time the baby was dead. She looked out the window again, and saw the clown right outside holding the pin. As she spun around to call the police, she realized the window was actually a mirror, and the clown was inside the entire time."
16. La Llarona:
"When my cousin and I were little, our family told us the story of La Llarona when they wanted us to behave. According to their telling of the legend, La Llarona was a beautiful woman who could have her pick of anyone. She met, fell in love, and ultimately married an attractive man. They had three kids and lived a generally happy life for a while. But the kids were very frustrating, and her husband, looking for a way out, left her for another woman. She was so distraught and blamed her kids, so she drowned them. Now her spirit just searches for bad kids to punish. It scared me so much as a kid."
17. The Woman Hanging From the Ceiling:
"I once heard one that was basically this: You are alone in your house when you get home from school. The house feels strange, like there is something else inside. You hear the faint scratching of something moving near you. The hairs on your arms stand up. You go into every room and look behind every corner. If you stop breathing quickly, you think you can hear something else breathing, just for a moment. It feels like something is following you. You turn on all the lights and open every cabinet. You lock every door and close every window. Finally satisfied, you go back to your room. After looking under the bed, you sit on the bed and turn on the TV, trying to forget about it. Maybe it was your imagination. Maybe it was a draft. Maybe it was the woman hanging from the ceiling watching you right now.
"I had the most unsettling feeling in my gut when I read that. Haven’t forgotten it to this day. I still look up first when I feel weird in the house."
18. Never Look Back:
"I’m not sure if this was a national urban legend or just local, but we were told at night to never look behind you once you turned off a light (ex: when you go to the bathroom) at night because if you made eye contact with the red eyes that glow in the dark, then a demon would attach itself to you and attack you."
19. Dog Man:
"When I was younger, my dad was friends with these two brothers who lived way out in the middle of the woods in northern Michigan. Whenever we visited, they would tell us about 'Dog Man' — a half-man, half-dog creature that was a local legend in that area. They told us stories about how hunters were found brutally slaughtered in the woods, and said that they had once seen him in their own yard. It scared the crap out of me."
20. Are You Scared:
"There was this myth when I was kid that my hostel's eldest granny knew a story that could terrify anyone. But it was not the story that was terrifying, it was the aftermath. Whoever went to sleep after hearing that story would be awakened by a whisper late at night saying, 'Are you scared?' If you screamed, you'd be sucked into the bed, and if you didn't, then you'd turn around to see a decaying, ghastly face and scream anyway."
21. Just Delicious:
A woman cooks dinner for her abusive husband every night. One day at lunch, he brings home liver for her to cook, which she does — but when she taste-tests it, it's so good, she eats the whole thing. Panicked about her husband coming home to no dinner, she remembers that a dead woman is lying in an open casket at the funeral home next door. She steals the woman's liver and cooks it for her husband, who thinks it's delicious. That night, she hears a ghostly voice asking who had her liver, and the woman points to her husband. The lights go out and the man screams, and when they came back on, he's gone.
"Still can't eat liver to this day."
22. And finally, the Town of Canandaigua:
"It’s not exactly a horror story, but a Native American (Seneca) legend from the area I grew up.
"Once, there was a Native American boy with a pet two-headed snake. The snake was very hungry and the boy kept feeding him. The snake kept getting bigger and bigger. One day, it ate everybody in his village. He fought the snake and cut off its head. It rolled down a hill, taking out all the trees, and regurgitated all the people it had eaten.
"It’s supposed to explain why there are no trees on this hill called Bare Hill and why there are a lot of round rocks on the hill. Apparently, the rocks are the skulls of the people the snake ate. Here is the link if you’re interested in reading the whole legend."