Saturday, October 19, 2013

Urban Legends Part Two

Another urban legend from my youth was the Killer in the Backseat. One version of the story has  a young woman getting into her car after she has had a few drinks with her friends and heads home. While on a deserted highway she suddenly sees a car behind her coming at her very fast. The car keeps flashing its lights at her and surging forward and it starts to freak the young woman out. It keeps happening again and again and eventually she decides to just gun it home as fast as she can. She finally gets home and bolts out of the car, but so does the person from the other car. The person yells for her to get inside, lock the doors and call the police. After the police arrive, the woman find out the terrible truth: there was a murderer in her backseat, and every time he was going to stab her, the car behind her would turn on his brights to frighten him off.  Another version has the woman stopping at a gas station and the attendant sees the murderer in her backseat and tries to warn her, but she doesn't believe him and gets back into the car. You can guess what happens next. This is one of those stories that has actually happened to people, so I can't assure you that this won't happen to you. The story stems from an incident that happend to a police officer in 1964, where an escaped killer had hid out in the back of his car. Another similar incident happened to a college girl in 2007 where she found an assailent hiding in her back seat. She hit the brakes hard and was able to jump out of the car in time. The funny thing about the first version of the story is what's stopping the killer from stabbing the girl? Why does having bright lights on him keep him from stabbing her. Maybe he didn't want to be seen in the rear-view mirror or something. I don't know, but to me this story is pretty silly. Yup, just a silly ol' story that has actually happened to people.

Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story, Bride-and-Seek. Sorry, I just had to throw in a Are You Afraid of the Dark reference in there. A young woman (seeing a trend here?) is about to get married and decides that she wants to have the wedding in her parent's back yard. The wedding goes off without a hitch and for part of the reception they decide to play hide-and-seek. It comes to be the groom's turn to be "it" and the bride really wants to win, so she sneaks into the attic of her childhood home and gets inside of an old chest. The groom searches everywhere for the bride but can't seem to find her. He assures the other guests that she is around here somewhere and that they could feel free to leave. When the bride's family can't find her after a few hours they start to become nervous and eventually fill out a missing person's report. Eventually they give up the hunt after a few days and the groom waits for the bride to eventually come home. A few years later, the bride's mother dies and her father decides to go up into the attic to look at some old photo albums. He happen upon an old chest and has to really try to get it open, seeing as the locking mechanism is all rusty. Inside he finds the corpse of his daughter, who had been trapped inside the whole time. When she closed the lid the clasp had gotten stuck on the rusty lock and kept her from escaping. The moral of the story is never get married! Wait...that's not it. Never get married at your parent's house! Nope...not that either. Oh! I got it! Never hide inside of an old chest, no matter how much you want to win a silly game of hide-and-seek. *Pours water on the fire*

One legend that has actually caused parents to freak out is the Blue-Star Tattoo legend. Every couple of years a parent will come across flyer telling them that there are temporary tattoos being passed around to children at elementary and middle schools and to get rid of them if found. The tattoos most commonly have a large blue star on them, or famous cartoon characters. The catch is that they are soaked in LSD and will hook your kids if they use the diabolical lick and stick tattoos. The legend stems from the fact that sometimes LSD solution is soaked in blotted paper and sold. There had never been any known accounts of this ever happening, but that didn't stop parents from circulating the flyer.
The legend has been around apparently since the 1970's and probably won't completely fade for awhile. I would compare the blue-star tattoo legend with other child centered ones like rainbow parties, sex bracelets, and poisoned candy. All of these tales are meant to scare parents, and most kids have no idea they are even a thing.

One that I've seen on TV a lot, but I doubt ever happens is the Kidney Heist. A well organized crime group has men go out to bars and other places to drug unsuspecting victims. The victim would then wake up the next day in a tub full of ice with a large cut on their side. Someone had taken one of their kidneys! Oh no! The person then gets away from the mobsters, or is killed, depending on which version you read. Geez mafia guys, I would have given you my kidney if you just would've asked! An e-mail warning about people who were drugging unsuspecting businessmen and women at airports and bars and taking their organs made its rounds in 1997. People flipped out so police departments in major cities had to issue statements telling the public that the story was completely made up. The National Kidney Foundation even had to issue a statement asking anyone who actually had their kidney taken to please contact them. Nobody ever has. While the story is very scary, it has never actually been confirmed, so don't be so paranoid about drinking at bars.

The last urban legend that I will cover is called, The Clown Statue. A young girl is asked to babysit at a neighbor's house and look after two boys. When she gets there the father tells her that once the boys go to sleep, she can go into this one room and watch TV. The house is very large and the father doesn't want the girl going around to different rooms I guess. Once the boys are asleep, she goes into the room and starts to watch TV, but is wary of a clown statue in the corner. She tries to stay in the room and ignore the creepy statue, but it's too much for her. She goes downstairs and calls the father, asking him if she can move to another room because of the creepy clown statue. He tells her to immediately grab the kids, go next door, and then call 911. She does what the father tells her and call him back. He tells her that they don't have a clown statue. The boys had been complaining of a clown watching them at night, but they had just assumed it was nightmares. The police come and arrest who turns out to be a midget wearing a clown costume. He had been living in the house for weeks, and hadn't been detected since the house was so big. This story was another that was passed around by e-mail, but nothing like it has ever happened. That is, unless you count John Wayne Gacy. That definitely happened, but he's long gone. No, this tale is just a piggyback from the babysitter and the man upstairs story, but with a clown twist. Nobody likes intruders, and nobody likes clowns. Double whammy!

There are a ton more urban legends out there. I don't think we are going to have a shortage of them anytime soon. With more and more technology being invented, I wouldn't be surprised if our urban legends started to focus on our fear of technology and the unknown.

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