Super-Creepy Urban Myths That Spawned Online
Though urban myths have been around for centuries, a whole new string of them has popped up online — and this format makes it easy for them to spread quickly. Some started as stories on websites dedicated to urban legends, while others made their way around the web via email chain letters. Here you'll find some of the weirdest, strangest and most downright creepy tales that have ever sprung from the internet's darkly shadowed corners.
Eight Feet Tall
Eight Feet Tall, also known as "Hachishakusama" or "Hasshaku-sama," first appeared online in 2008. On some sites, you can even read about the experience of a man who claims to have seen her when he was a child.
Giant Iraqi Camel Spiders
Ah, email chain letters. They've been the source of many online urban legends. Perhaps you’ve even seen the one that details how soldiers in the Gulf War had to contend with giant, man-eating spiders that could run up to 25 miles an hour. They purportedly could also leap several feet and easily grow to nearly a foot tall.
The Elevator Game
The Elevator Game is thought to have originated in Asia, and it spread to thrill-seeking kids the world over through the magic of the internet. It involves finding yourself a building that's at least 10 stories tall and then visiting each floor in a really specific order.
The Origin of “Taps”
It's traditional to play an old song called "Taps" at the funerals of soldiers, and an online urban myth started circulating, claiming to explain why. The story noted that, one night during the American Civil War, a Union soldier found a dying Confederate soldier — who turned out to be his son.
The Slender Man
Though a creation of a user from the forum Something Awful, the Slender Man's legend went wrong in a very real-life way. He's supposed to be a tall, faceless man with long limbs who appears in photos with kids right before they go missing.
This one originally appeared on 4chan's paranormal board and eventually made its way over to creepypasta, a horror-story site. It chronicles the tale of a teenager who was camping with friends and family in the woods of Alabama, only to encounter a terrifying man with the head of a goat.
If you ever watched Syfy's horror anthology Channel Zero, you may remember that the first season centered on a lost TV show called Candle Cove. Though the show never actually existed, it originated in a 2009 creepypasta story about a group of people who seemed to be the only ones who could recall the old kids’ show.
The Blind Maiden
The modern equivalent of "Bloody Mary," there's now a website that you can visit for the ultimate scare...if you dare. Somewhere in the shadows of the internet lurks a website called The Blind Maiden, and most of the time it’ll take you to a page that makes it look as though the URL is for sale.
In 1998, a video game database called Coin Op featured a page about a mysterious game called "Polybius" that only appeared in a few arcades in Portland, Oregon, in 1981. As the story goes, everyone who dared to play the mysterious game either got sick, had nightmares or succumbed to other mysterious illnesses.
The Cicada Challenge
One of the biggest mysteries on the internet revolves around a series of mysterious puzzles sometimes put out by the Cicada 3301 organization. Since 2012, the group has been posting insanely complicated puzzles that require skills in everything from programming to literature and numerology to solve.
Another creepypasta tale that spawned a full-blown urban legend revolved around a character that's become known as The Expressionless. The story claimed that, in 1972, a woman walked into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center wearing nothing but a white, blood-covered gown.
"Annie96 is typing..."
"Annie96 is typing..." first made its rounds on the internet in 2014 and was supposed to be the transcript of a chat between a girl named Annie and her friend David. The chat starts out innocently enough, but then suddenly Annie spies something outside her house that looks just like David.
The SCP Foundation
Another internet classic that originated on the paranormal board at 4chan details the antics of a shadowy government agency — a favorite subject of urban-legend lore. The organization is called the SCP Foundation and is kind of a mixture of B613 from Scandal and the entire plot of Warehouse 13.
Another super-creepy gem is the legend of Ben Drowned, one of the many tales that originated in the annals of creepypasta. The story appears as a series of posts by a college kid named Ben who bought the video game "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask."
The Gang Initiation Scare
With the rise of email and social media, even old hoaxes have managed to get reshaped into new "threats" and become way more widespread as well-meaning users share them. Among the most classic is a series of warnings meant to keep people from accidentally getting murdered by someone who’s joining a gang.
The Unfortunate Dwarf
Back in 1994, a story began making the internet rounds in the form of a fake news article. The story claimed to tell the tale of a circus accident in which a dwarf performer fell off of a trampoline right at the moment that a nearby hippo happened to yawn. (You can see where this is going, right?)
Jeff the Killer
This insanely scary image was first posted in a slideshow of creepy images by a YouTube user all the way back in 2008. Over time, the internet dubbed it "Jeff the Killer" as a creepy backstory arose to explain its appearance.
Though Hell.com no longer exists in its original macabre form, its history is still the stuff that urban legends are made of. Back when the internet was a relatively new phenomenon, someone got ahold of this URL and used it to freak out an entire generation of web surfers.
In 2006, YouTube was far from the bustling online community it is today. So when a small-town, 16-year-old girl named Bree began posting her video blogs, it wasn't initially that big of a deal. As she gained followers, however, her stories began to get stranger and stranger.
The Russian Sleep Experiment
When it comes to sparking fear in the hearts of readers around the internet, a convincing-looking photo is always handy. That's why the image you see here was attached to an urban legend involving a Russian experiment that supposedly took place in the 1940s.
It seems that there's an entire subculture of internet legends that are geared towards destroying your childhood. One such legend is called "Squidward's Suicide," and its creator wrote it from the perspective of a former Nickelodeon intern.
The Elevator Incident
Ever since there have been multi-story buildings, there seem to have also been urban legends involving mysterious missing floors. One such modern take is the "Elevator Incident" in which someone on a business trip to Taiwan accidentally ends up on the fourth floor of a building.
The Montauk Monster
Among the creepiest of urban legends are the ones that no one was ever really able to explain. Such was the case of the Montauk Monster, a strange-looking carcass that's said to have washed up on the beach of Montauk, New York, in 2008.
The Derbyshire Fairy
While some urban legends start out as mere stories, others have sprung from elaborate April Fools’ jokes that prove our collective gullibility. One year, a propmaker named Dan Baines decided to have a little fun by posting what he claimed was the body of a dead fairy.
Unlike some urban legends that are completely fictitious, this one has the extra creepiness factor of having originally come from a real journalist who swears it's true. It all began when Brian Bethal was traveling in Abilene, Texas, where he claims he was approached by two kids with "coal-black," dead-looking eyes.
Who Is Ed Kann?
One internet incarnation of the classic "missing story" or "disappearing author" motif comes in the form of the disappearance of Ed Kann. Kann's legend can be traced back to a blog, which insists that not only did the author once exist but he also wrote the most terrifying story of all time.
In 2007, a series of YouTube videos began to appear from a user named "retiredafb." They claimed to reveal the truth about Apollo 20, a secret space mission that discovered life on the moon. In May of 2007, a UFO expert interviewed a man who identified himself as William Rutledge over Yahoo! Messenger.
Hurricane Lili Waterspouts
In 2002, you may have gotten an email featuring this photo of three terrifying waterspouts that were supposedly brought on by Hurricane Lili. While the rest of the world freaked out, meteorologists weren't so sure. Even the U.S. National Weather Service ended up getting in on the party and ultimately announced that the photo was a fake.
The Strawberry Meth Scare
In 2007, a bizarre urban legend arose, claiming meth dealers had started using Strawberry Quik drink mix to disguise their drugs as popping candy. The story claimed that the dealers were attempting to unwittingly get random kids into the drugs in the hopes of bringing them back for more.
The Clown Statue
Before spam filters everywhere were able to help cut down on them, chain emails once ran rampant. Once such chain letter helped cash in on the fears of clown-hating people everywhere. It detailed the story of a teenage girl who was babysitting two kids, all the while being increasingly freaked out by a clown statue in the house.