Ever wonder about the urban legends in every U.S. State? Every country has its own legends and folklore and the United States is no different. From bizarre birds stealing children to horrible murder houses, the U.S. is full of ghost stories and myths. But what are they and where did they come from? Well, considering the size of U.S., and that each and every state has its own unique culture and history, we’ve decided to pick our favorite urban legend from each state. Like in all good stories and legends, each one has a least a little bit of truth. From outrageous to the historically disturbing, here are 25 Urban Legends from every U.S. State (Part 1).
Alabama - Hell's Gate, Oxford
On Old Boiling Springs Road there is an abandoned bridge where many years ago a young couple died after losing control of their car and plunging into the river below. If you stop on the bridge and turn off all the lights in your car, one of their ghosts will get into your car and leave a wet spot on your seat. Awkward.
Alternatively, if you stop on the bridge and turn around, you are no longer looking at the bridge, but into the gates of hell. The local government has deemed the bridge “unsafe”, but instead of, you know, reasonably tearing it down, they’ve just blocked it with cement barriers. But I guess that does make sense, since the backdoor to hell is probably harder to demolish than one would imagine.
Alaska - Secret UFO Base, Mount Hayes
A man names Jim Schnabel wrote a book in 1997 called “Remote Viewers,” wherein he describes the United States alleged involvement with aliens who had a base in Mount Hayes, Alaska. This book includes a transcription of sighting reports supposedly sent to J. Edgar Hoover when he was the head of the FBI, and clarifies, for those wondering, that the aliens were “very human looking,” differing only in their eyes and several internal organs, and uh…mind control abilities.
Arizona - Slaughterhouse Canyon
Legend goes that if you go to Luana’s Canyon at night you can hear a woman sobbing. That’s because it’s the ghost of a woman who killed her children. Back during the gold rush, a very poor family lived in the canyon. The father walked off to find food and didn’t return. The mother, driven mad by the cries of her hungry children echoing around the canyon, killed them all and then put on her wedding dress to wear as she slowly starved to death. Since then, the place has earned the nickname “Slaughterhouse Canyon.”
Arkansas - Avon Cemetery, DeQueen
Legend has it that once, a long time ago, before there was a graveyard, a woman sat her baby on the edge of the well while she was getting water. The baby fell in and drowned. The graveyard grew around the well, and nowadays if you sneak into the cemetery, at night you might see a woman with a baby running through the graveyard. On top of that, if you go to the well and drop a coin in, you’ll hear a baby’s cry.
Its cry probably sounds like, “Why didn’t you just put me on the ground?!”
California - Hollywood Sign, Hollywood
As California’s most unsightly landmark, The Hollywood Sign has an unsurprisingly sordid history. In September of 1932, supposedly after getting a bad review, an actress climbed the Hollywood sign and jumped to her death. Hollywood being Hollywood, her suicide note was published: “I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.” Legend now says that anyone who goes to The Hollywood Sign alone is accompanied by death, and many suicides have happened there since.
Colorado - Hatchet Lady/Old Mrs. Johnson, Red Rocks
The iconic concert venue and park had a its very own ghost. Supposedly, Mrs. Johnson would pull her coat over her head and carry a hatchet to scare off her daughter’s would be dates, and thus now appears decades later as a headless ghost to hikers and concert goers who want to get to know one another better in the shadows.
In other tales, Hatchet Lady was a homeless woman who used to live in a cave and kill children. Today, people hang out in the old graveyard off one of the trails, trying to get a glimpse of her. Either way, she’s just one of several ghostly apparitions that are haunting Red Rocks.
Connecticut - Vampires, Jewett City
This story is kind of historically cool but factually sad. In 1854, a family from Jewett City was mostly killed by a nasty bout of tuberculosis. The members of the family that did not succumb to the disease decided that the sickness was a curse from their dead family members that made said dead family members thirst for living blood. Being reasonable folk of the mid 1800’s, they exhumed their dead relatives and burned them. Some people claim that this family inspired Bram Stoker, but that’s up for debate.
Delaware - Ghost Justice
In 1744, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware, Samuel Chew, died. In life, Justice Chew had been mercilessly mocked for his last name, with some people making exaggerated chewing movements and people loudly going “ah-CHEW” and faking sneezes, proving that bullies throughout the ages have been equally annoying.
After dealing with annoying bullies his whole life, Justice Chew’s spirit wasn’t ready to move on, so he haunted people in Delaware, a specter in flowing black robes, by making people sneeze uncontrollably. The resourceful towns people sent Chew’s spirit to rest by throwing another funeral, this one completely with an empty casket and all the respect Chew didn’t get in life. No one had reported sneeze haunting since.
Florida - The Bloody Bucket Bridge, Wauchula
There are so many ghost stories and urban legends in the Sunshine State that it makes the Florida Man headlines look kind of tame. At least those people are only being weird while they’re alive, right? So legend says that the late 1800’s an ex-slave came down from Georgia and started working as a midwife. This woman thought that many of the families she served already had too many mouths to feed, so she took it upon herself to start smothering newborns, which she would then take and bury in the woods by the river.
Eventually the townspeople caught on and stopped letting her deliver babies, so she went insane (You know, because of all the baby souls haunting her). She would sitc next to an empty bucket and it would slowly fill up with blood, which she would take down to the bridge and empty into the river. Over and over again this happened, until she just threw herself in the river, and it ran red for three days. If you go to the bridge at night and look at the water, it runs red.
Georgia - The Cursed Pillar, Augusta
Once upon a time, an evangelist wanted to preach in a marketplace in Augusta, Georgia. The authorities intervened and said thou shalt not ruin our market with hellfire and brimstone stories. So the evangelist put a curse on the market, saying it would be destroyed and only his favorite pillar would remain.
A short while later a tornado did in fact blow through town and destroyed the market, but left the pillar standing. Afterward, up through the 1950’s, stories spread of workers who died via thunderbolt or machinery malfunction when trying to move the pillar.
Hawaii - Night Marchers, Oahu
The Night Marchers announce their presence with the beating of drums, sometimes torches appearing before they do. Coming out at night, the spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors are bound to protect Hawaii in life and in death. In some Hawaiian families, even saying “Night Marchers” is taboo. There are several places on Oahu that they frequently are seen. Supposedly, you’re more likely to encounter them if the moon is full. If you see them, run. If you look them in the eye, you will be killed and forced to join their ranks.
Idaho - Murder House, Boise
There is a house in Boise known to most as the “Murder House” or occasionally the “Chop Chop House” where, as you might already suspect, a gruesome murder happened. It all started with a fight between three men. A man named Preston Murr was shot in the shoulder as a result, and ran to the neighbor’s house for help. The neighbor didn’t let him in, but called the police.
The next morning, that same neighbor called the police again, because there was blood smeared across their door and trails of blood in the street. The other two men had dragged Murr back to the house, shot him fatally, and then dismembered him. They found pieces of Murr in the reservoir a few days later.
Over the last 30 years the house has been in use, even being a fraternity house at one point, and people have reported seeing shadows out of the corners of their eyes, a dark oily presence, and the basement has a “creepy feel” that few want to experience.
Illinois - Thunderbirds
In 1977, a woman named Ruth Lowe claimed two giant birds attempted to pick up her ten year old son, Marlon, and carry him away. She claimed they carried him over 35 feet before dropping him. She described the bird as having a white ring around its neck and a black body, with a beak that was six inches long, wings of at least four feet each.
While this could have been one mom who’d had too many wine coolers, legends about giant creepy birds in that area go back to the Cahokia tribe. The most famous of the cliff drawings that the Cahokia tribe left behind is called the Piasa bird, which was a large bird/lizard hybrid. The tribe called them “Thunderbirds” because of the sound made when they flapped their wings.
It’s interesting to note that there many stories of Thunderbirds among other plains tribes, and that in the 1940’s, there were sightings of massive birds near Alton, Illinois. People who reported these sightings included an Army Colonel and flight instructors from local airports. So, is it a myth, or just big creepy child stealing birds biding their time?
Indiana - Central State Hospital, Indiana
When it first opened in 1848, they called it the Indiana Hospital for the Insane. It catered to mental illnesses from depression to the criminally insane, including those who were mentally handicapped. All of that was under one roof. What could possibly go wrong? Except they weren’t all under one roof, per se.
By the time the hospital was renamed Central State Hospital in the 1920’s, there were over five miles of tunnels where they kept the worst patients. At its height, Central State housed over 3,000 patients, with the most insane being kept in an underground network of tunnels so no one could hear them scream.
Eventually the hospital turned to more human techniques, but angry, abused, insane spirits don’t forget. Even once they stopped using the basement tunnels, staff still heard screams of the patients who had been housed there, and there were reports of unseen physical forces such as choking and several patients disappearing without a trace. The screams were so bad the hospital had to constantly rehire staff before it was finally closed in 1994. Unmarked graves kept being discovered after that.
Iowa - Lover's Leap, Elkader
The story goes that sometime in the 1830’s, Lou Milville befriended the local Native Americans. He got uh, particularly “friendly” with the Chief’s daughter, White Cloud. One day Milville was captured for following some younger tribesmen into the woods, and he was ordered to jump off the cliff. He fought his captors, threw them over the cliff, and fell unconscious. When he woke up, White Cloud’s shoes were carefully placed next to him, for she had jumped off the cliff herself. Much like Romeo and Juliet, no one wins. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, the legend says Lou buried White Cloud, but fails to say if he offed himself to be with her.
Kansas - Saline River Ghost, Ellis County
Supposedly there’s a ghost of a Native American that haunts the banks of this river, having appeared to several travelers. He’s apparently stuck there until he finds the skull of his father, who was killed by white men.
Kentucky - The Pope Lick Monster
The legend says that in the 1930’s a traveling circus performer found a deformed half man/half goat baby with nubby little horns while the circus was stopped in Maryland. The head of the circus, seeing an abandoned and deformed child, decided to build a freak show as part of the circus, starring “Baby Goatman.”
Shockingly, spending most of your life chained in a cage doesn’t lead to a kind disposition, and the goat baby grew into a large, angry, goatman. One night, the circus train was on its was to Louisville, Kentucky, when it crashed just before Pope Lick Creek, and justifiably angry, goat man was freed!
In an act that surprised absolutely no one, angry goat man ripped the survivors of the crash to shreds, and in the years since, there have been a number of deaths, missing persons, and animal mutilations enough to to make the reasonable assumption that angry goat man, now the Pope Lick Monster, still lives in a cave nearby.
Louisiana - LaLaurie Mansion, New Orleans
Considered by many to be the most gruesome haunting in the U.S., the Madame LaLaurie Mansion has over 180 years of violence and haunted activity. And it’s little wonder why. When Marie Delphine MacCarthy Blanque LaLaurie build her mansion, it was considered to be one of the most beautiful and well appointed homes in the French Quarter, but Madame LaLaurie was a monster.
As if owning human beings wasn’t bad enough, Madame LaLaurie took great pleasure in torturing her slaves, reportedly keeping her cook chained to the kitchen stove. When fire broke out, her neighbors had to break down the doors to the slave quarters as she had refused to provide the key. Inside, they found 7 badly mutilated enslaved people who had been kept there for some time. Once people got word of her cruel treatment, an angry mob destroyed everything left in the mansion and drove LaLaurie out of town.
Maine - Colonel Bucks's Grave
Bucksport’s founder, Colonel Jonathan Buck, fell in lust with a woman, and as happens, she became pregnant. He sent her away and for a few years thought nothing of her, until she returned, asking for support to help raise his son.
Being the decent man he was, Buck declared her a witch and had her burned. Afterward, their son stole her leg and buried it, so his mom would have a somewhat proper burial. There’s a stain on good ol’ Colonel Buck’s tomb in the shape of a leg. They’ve replaced the stone, and the leg reappears, just to remind everyone, years after his death, what an awful person he was.
Maryland - Point Lookout State Park
Maryland is home to what is supposedly the most haunted lighthouse in America. It’s not a particularly impressive piece of architecture, as far as lighthouses go, but it was occupied by Federal Forces and used as a hospital/POW camp during the American Civil War.
Confederate soldiers can be seen running across the road somewhat regularly, and the wife of a former keeper wanders around in a pretty dress telling people that “this is my house.” Despite a lighthouse nearby, several shipwrecks have occurred near Point Lookout.
The USS Tulip sank offshore in 1964, with 47 deaths and eight corpses washing up on shore near the lighthouse, and a storm in 1978 killed 16 on The Express, a ship who’s ghostly second mate knocks on the lighthouse door right before or during a major storm.
Perhaps they should’ve spent the money and built a more impressive lighthouse?
Massachusetts - The Bloody Pit
The Hoosac railway tunnel is almost five miles long and runs through the Hoosac mountain range in western Massachusetts. Construction lasted 24 years from the 1850’s to the 1870’s, and 200 men died while building the tunnel. This included a cave it was assumed everyone died instantly, but when they excavated it, found that at least one person had lived for sometime. This earned the tunnel the nickname “The Bloody Pit.” The tunnel is still sometimes used by freight trains. There have been weird sightings and sounds reported near the tunnel for over 150 years.
Michigan - The Nain Rouge, Detroit
The Nain Rouge, also called the Red Dwarf Of Detroit, is a small red devil looking creature, said to be an omen of coming doom. Supposedly, the Ottawa tribe considered it a protector, but once it was seen by the founder of Detroit, Antoine De La Mothe Cadillac, it became a harbinger of bad things. It was reportedly seen before the riots in ’67, the Battle of Bloody Run, the great Detroit fire of 1802 and before the great ice storm of ’76. Harbinger of doom? Maybe. Also, maybe he just doesn’t like Europeans?
Minnesota - Lake Pepin Serpent
You’ve heard of the Loch Ness Monster. Well, Minnesota has its own great water…thing. It’s called The Lake Pepin Serpent, also known as Pepie. Many residents claim they’ve seen Pepie, and there’s a $50,000 reward for anyone who can get video recording of her. The first sighting was in 1871, and according to legend, the Dakota used thicker dugout canoes instead of birchbark when traveling on Lake Pepin due to large creatures in the lake who would put holes in the thinner birch canoes.
Mississippi - Mercritis Outbreak, 1950s
So we’ve have legends of ghosts, murders, creatures and haunted railway tunnels, but Mississippi wins for most unusual legend – a disease that made men omit an odor that turned women, upon smelling it, into homicidal maniacs.
Some legends say it was a disease that came from Europe, while others say that the men ingested too much lead. There’s also a conspiracy about how the government screwed up and tried to cover it up. Guess some things are worse than the cloying scent of Axe body spray.
Missouri - Molly Crenshaw's Graves
There are a few different versions of who exactly Ms. Crewnshaw was, and how she died. Some say she was a Haitian or Jamaican woman who was burned as a witch in the 1800’s after a crop failure. In other versions, she’s a voodoo lady and ex-slave who worked said voodoo on her neighbors. What those legends have in common is that supposedly Molly was chopped into pieces and buried in several graves, leaving her separate parts to wiggle together under the dirt and try to reunite. Teenagers have been looking for her graves for over 50 years.
Do you like the macabre and paranormal? Well, you definitely need to check out 25 Disturbing Creepy True Stories