It's that time of the year again. Store shelves are fully stocked with seasonal candies, there are pumpkins all over your neighborhood and you're stressing over a costume -- yep, Halloween is almost upon us. And while our days of trick-or-treating and haunted houses might be over, we have to admit, we still love to be scared.
And there's nothing quite as scary as those childhood fears that have stuck with us all these years. Whether you were told a tall tale by an older sibling trying to creep you out or listened to a scary story around a campfire, we've all heard our fair share of urban legends. We asked our Facebook fans to tell us which vintage urban legends scared them to death as children. Here's the best of the batch:
1. Bloody Mary
Admit it. No matter how old you are, you still get a little spooked when you're in the bathroom in the dark. As with any urban legend, this one has many variations, but mainly they consist of this: standing in front of a bathroom mirror and chanting Bloody Mary's name to "summon" her. Some versions of the story say she was a witch, others say she was a beautiful woman who became disfigured. It's often used as a dare during kids' sleepovers, because few can muster the courage to chant the name three, five, or however many times they have heard is enough to conjure up the image. The mirror and the darkness only add to the creepiness.
So what supposedly happens when you summon Mary? Find out -- if you dare.
2. 'Light as a feather, stiff as a board"
Another sleepover favorite, this one involves one person laying on the floor while the others surround him or her on every which side, placing their fingers under the laying person's limp body. Together (or one at a time, going in a circle, according to some variations) they chant, "light as a feather, stiff as a board" until the person starts "levitating." Most likely, everyone with their combined strength is just simply lifting the person a few inches (or centimeters) off the ground. But add the elements of darkness, candles and a little believability that it may actually work, and everyone is effectively spooked.
3. 'The Boogeyman'
A go-to for parents trying to scare their kids into good behavior... "Don't stay up too late or the boogeyman will get you." As adults the name of this so-called creature or monster or whatnot just makes us laugh, but as a kid, the thought of the faceless child-snatcher terrified us. We were afraid he was under our beds or in our closets, waiting to pop out at the opportune moment. Descriptions of the boogeyman vary, letting a child's imagination run free. Since references to the boogeyman (or bogey man) are endless, it's hard to track down where the legend really started.
Chances are, you've pulled this one on your kids.
4. The Babysitter
This urban legend is so well-known it's been the inspiration for many movies, including the 1979 film "When A Stranger Calls" and also a 2006 remake. The basics of this legend are the same. A naive teenage babysitter goes to a family's home to watch their children. As the children sleep quietly in their room, the babysitter meanwhile waits for the parents to get home. She gets several odd phone calls, where the caller simply breathes on the other end of the line. She ignores the calls, believing it's someone playing a practical joke on her. She starts feeling uneasy and calls the police, believing she is being watched after the caller repeatedly asks if she's checked the children. The police call her back and tell her they've traced the phone call... it's coming from inside the house!
We never wanted to babysit again after hearing this legend -- no matter how broke we were.
5. Friday the 13th
The number 13 has long been associated with bad luck. High rise buildings often don't have a 13th floor. Nobody wants to be #13 on the team. And we secretly dread when Friday falls on the 13th. So common is this fear that there's an actual name for it: triskaidekaphobia. According to some estimates, around 20 million people have this phobia. Throughout history there have been many references to 13 being "unlucky." For example, there were 13 people at the last supper. The ancient Code of Hammurabi skips #13. It's unclear as to why Friday the 13th in particular is considered unlucky. Many people won't fly or even leave home on this day. The myth even spurred a popular movie franchise.
We still secretly chalk up anything that goes wrong on Friday the 13th to the calendar.
What urban legends still creep you out? Let us know in comments below!