25 Most Popular Urban Legends Still Being Told

Posted by , Updated on November 29, 2022

Whether it’s an unsolved mystery, a popular misconception, or sometimes just a big hoax, urban legends are an inevitable part of any culture. Told around campfires, at parties, or in casual conversation, these myths still find a way to be handed down from generation to generation. Even with the resources at our finger tips, many urban legends refuse to be stamped out. Often, they have their origin in some vaguely twisted version of a true story which only make them sound reasonable and true. Regardless of their veracity, they make for a good tale around the fire. Here are the 25 Most Popular Urban Legends Still Being Told.

Mr. Rogers was a Navy SEAL

mister rogers

According to this legend, Mr. Rogers, the popular children’s show host, was once a Navy SEAL sniper in Vietnam, responsible for numerous deaths. The only reason he wears a sweater is to cover up all of his tattoos. As you may have guessed, Mr. Rogers was never a Navy SEAL and he had no tattoos. In fact, he was never even in the military. This isn’t the first time, however, that this rumor has circulated concerning a clean cut celebrity.


Bloody Mary

bloody mary

A popular one at sleep overs, according to this myth, if you turn out the lights, look into a mirror and say Bloody Mary three times (in some versions the number of times differs), then you will summon the spirit of Mary Worth, a woman who was supposedly executed for being a witch.


Kennedy and the Jelly Donut


Kennedy made a trip to Germany back in the 60′s in an attempt to connect with the German people. While giving a speech in the capital he told the crowd, “Ich bin ein Berliner” or “I am a Berliner.” Apparently though, a “berliner” is also a type of German pastry. Since then, stories circulated claiming he was practically laughed off stage afterwards. The truth is, however, that that the crowd understood him perfectly and nary a single eyebrow was raised at the statement.


The Dissolving Tooth

coca cola

There are so many Coca-Cola legends that they have their own category known as “Colklore.” The most popular says if you leave a tooth in a cup of Coke overnight, by morning the tooth would be completely dissolved. Like most of the other legends involving the popular drink, this is totally untrue.


The Good Samaritan


Circulating for years, this legend tells of a motorist who stops on the side of the road to help someone fix their flat tire. The person being helped asks the motorist for his address to send a reward. Several weeks later the motorist receives $10,000 in the mail. Over the years this story has been attributed to several celebrities, most recently Donald Trump.


Walt Disney is Cryogenically Frozen

walt disney

This is another one of those popular stories that most of us have probably heard. It says Walt Disney supposedly had his dead body frozen in hopes that future technology could bring him back to life. Unfortunately for all the gossip magazines though, records show that Disney was cremated in 1966.


Sewer Gators


This one tells of how several alligators were brought up from Florida to be kept as pets in New York City. After they got too big and violent, they escaped into the sewers where they now live freely. Dating back to the 1930’s and spread by sensationalist newspapers, the story is completely untrue yet continues to be circulated to this day.


The Vanishing Hitchhiker


Possibly one of the oldest urban legends still being told, this one tells of a motorist who picks up a female hitchhiker on a lonely stretch of road. He drives her home only to find that she has disappeared from his backseat. After knocking on her door, he is told the girl died in a car accident years ago in the very same spot that he picked her up.


The Kidney Heist


Immortalized on TV and the internet, this legend dates back to 1997 when an email was circulated warning people of a crazy new crime wave catching on in big cities. It usually involves a traveling business man being bought drinks by a stranger only to wake up in a tub covered in ice with a phone next to him, telling him to call 911. Covered in blood he later learns that his kidney was removed by criminals who intend to sell it on the black market. Although the story almost sounds feasible, even after the National Kidney Foundation asked victims to contact them, no one has come forward and the email has been written off as a hoax.


The Killer in the Backseat


This one never seems to die. It tells the story of a woman who is driving down a dark road at night only to have a strange car pull up behind her and start flashing its lights. As she takes off on her exit and approaches her home, the stranger continues to follow her. She pulls up in her driveway ready to make a mad dash to her front door, only to hear the stranger behind her get out of his car and yell to her to lock her door and call 911. Only after the police arrive does she learn that the stranger was actually trying to protect her. In her backseat was a man holding a butcher knife, ready to stab her to death. The stranger had noticed his shadowy form and started flashing his lights to get her attention after which the figure slouched back down in the seat.


Babysitter and the Man Upstairs

rotary phone

In this one, a baby sitter starts getting phone calls from a strange man asking her questions that get progressively more personal and conclude with whether or not she has checked the children. She ends up calling the police who proceed to trace the stranger’s call. They immediately call the babysitter back and tell her to get the kids out of the house immediately because the calls are coming from within the house. At this moment, police arrive to find a man in the upstairs room where the kids are sleeping, but it is already too late as all of the kids have been brutally murdered.


Hawaiian Night Marchers

torch lighthttps://www.thisisinsider.com/urban-legends-us-2018-1#hawaii-night-marchers-11

Do you have a trip to Hawaii planned anytime soon? If so, you’ll want to know about the Night Marchers. They are spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors who march around protecting sacred sites. While they aren’t evil, don’t look directly at a Night Marcher, lest you be marked for death, and if you find yourself in the middle of a night march procession, lie down in the middle of the road. How do you know a procession is coming? Pay attention for torches and drums. 


Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On The Light?

dark room

Widely circulated on college campuses, this legend tells of two girls about to have a big test the next day. One of the girls gets invited to a party the night before and when she returns to her dorm room, she doesn’t want to wake her friend so she goes straight to bed. When she wakes up in the morning, she rolls over to find her friend had been brutally murdered during the night. Written on the wall in blood is the phrase, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights?”


The Jedi Religion Form


This far-reaching hoax claims that if enough people fill out “Jedi” as their religion on their census forms, the government will have to make it an official religion. In fact, at one point thousands of people tried to do just that but to no avail. Just because a large number of people check something on a census form is not grounds for introducing it as “official.”


Snuff Films


Snuff films are movies where a person is murdered during the course of filming. Usually they are said to be funded by twisted rich people, but as of yet, not a single snuff film has been legitimately found in spite of numerous rewards going to anyone with information on their production.


The 9/11 Tourist Guy

world trade center

Shortly after 9/11 a photo circulated showing a tourist standing on top one of the World Trade Center towers with one of the airplanes in the background of the shot about to strike the tower. The accompanying story explained how the camera was found in the wreckage but the tourist remained missing. Aside from all of the very inconsistent details in the picture, the story already seemed completely improbable, and several people came forward claiming to be the prankster responsible. It wasn’t until recently, however, that the real culprit was discovered in Hungary. He has since apologized to the families for making light of their situation.


USA, Japan

USA Japan

Yes, there is a town in Japan called Usa. No, the Japanese did not rename it after World War II so that they could legitimately stamp their exports with the phrase “Made in USA.”


The Poisonous Daddy Long Legs

daddy long legs

There has been a persistent rumor circulating for some time that the daddy long legs spider is the most poisonous in the world but cannot kill humans because its fangs are too small. Where this rumor started no one knows, but one thing is for sure, the daddy long legs is certainly not the most poisonous spider in the world. If you’re going to be careful around spiders, we would advise keeping your eyes open for the brown recluse or the funnel web spider.


The Hook

the hook

This legend tells of a young boy and girl who drive off into the woods only to hear on the radio that a convicted killer with a hook for one of his arms has just escaped from a nearby mental facility. The boy simply locks the car door and insists they stay, but the girl wants to leave. The boy reluctantly drives away and when they return home, depending on the version of the story, there is a bloody hook hanging on the outside handle of the car door.


The Boyfriend’s Death

dark figure

Very similar in style to the previous story, this legend also involves two young lovers stopped on an abandoned country road. The boyfriend gets out of the car to use the bathroom but doesn’t come back for some time. The girl gets out and looks for him only to see a dark figure in the shadows. She runs back to the car and starts it but realizes that the back bumper has been tied to a tree. She hears a scream and after turning around, sees her boyfriend hanging from the tree.


The Clown Statue

clown toy

In this one, a girl is babysitting for a family when she calls the parents to ask if she can cover up a disturbing clown statue in the corner of the living room. The dad tells her very seriously to grab the kids, go next door, and call 911 without any further explanation. Once she is next door and the police are on their way, she calls the father back, who then explains that they don’t have a clown statue. Furthermore, the kids had been complaining about a clown watching them in their sleep, but the parents had written it off as a nightmare. In most versions of the story, the clown turns out to be a midget who had been living in their house for some time undetected. When the babysitter came over, he didn’t have time to escape so he just froze in the corner.


The Fatal Hairdo

sugar water

Although the hairstyle has changed with the times, the story has remained the same. A girl who is very concerned with her looks decides to wash her hair in sugar water and leave it wrapped in a towel overnight so that it will dry in the exact shape she wants. The next morning, however, she doesn’t come down for breakfast. When her mom checks on her, she finds her dead in her bed. Upon removing the towel, it becomes apparent that she had been gnawed to death by either rats or bugs, depending on the version.


Dead Body Under The Mattress


This legend tells the story of a couple spending the night in a hotel room that is filled with a foul odor. After a while they can’t take it anymore and call the front office. When the staff arrive, they discover the smell is coming from the bed after which they remove the mattress only to find a rotting body beneath it. As crazy as this story sounds, unlike the previous legends on this list, it has actually happened…and more than once.


Charlie No-Face

raymond robinsonhttps://www.ranker.com/list/real-urban-legends/lyra-radford

Also called the Green Man, legend states that a man was horribly disfigured by either acid or an electrical powerline and now roams dark and foreboding places. Those who claim to have seen him say they have troubles restarting their cars or feel electrical surges of energy after calling out to him. Turns out that this story was based partially on truth as there was a man in the area who survived a tragic accident and kept to himself afterwards and only walked around at night. However, he was quite friendly and pleasant to those willing to be friendly in return. 


Buried Alive


This one can barely be considered an urban legend considering how often people have been buried alive. In fact, in the past many coffins were even equipped with strings that ran through the ground and were connected to a bell not far away. This way if anyone did happen to be buried alive, they could pull the string and get the undertaker’s attention.

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