The advent of the internet has made sharing urban legends easier than ever, and as a result, many classics that were once pegged to particular geographic locations are now considered to be somewhat more universal in nature. There are, however, still hyper-local urban legends in the world — and as a recent Reddit thread highlights, sometimes you really do have to be there to get the full impact of the tale.
"Tell me the weirdest urban legends in your hometown" threads are fairly common in the AskReddit sub, but the one posted by Redditor u/SlothAgainstHumanity on Wednesday is by far one of the best ones I’ve read — mostly because it wasn’t just full of the same old stories we’ve all heard time and time again. Many of them really are the kinds of tales you’ll only know if you grow up in the area in which they originate; indeed, if you’d told me a few days ago that a place called Hairy Man Road actually exists, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But it does — and it has an exceedingly bizarre story attached to it that’s seemingly become a part of the DNA of the town in which it’s located. That's pretty incredible when you think about it; never underestimate the power of local folklore.
So, y’know, hats off to all the Redditors that came out for this thread; I learned tons of new things from you all today as a result. Here are 14 of my favorites — and if you want more, there’s plenty more where that came from.
The Chupacabra — a cryptid that hunts and brutally kills animals and has a particular fondness for livestock (not for nothing is it known as “the goat sucker”) — certainly gets around; according to other commenters in the thread, the legend also exists in places like New Mexico, California, and even North Carolina. Its origins, however, are in Latin America; it’s usually cited as a Puerto Rican legend. According to Animal Planet, the first accounts of Chupacabra attacks appeared in the 1960s.
The Ghost Children Of Gold Camp Road
Gold Camp Road is in Colorado — but the legend is usually claimed by San Antonio, Texas. That version got posted as a comment further down the thread, too:
Neither place is the true origin of the story, though. According to Snopes, the real-life incident that inspired the legend actually happened in Salt Lake City in 1938. Like the Chupacabra, this one is well-traveled.
Cars will actually move uphill in some locations associated with this genre of legend, by the way, but it’s just the result of a gravity hill illusion — not ghosts.
Hairy Man Road
Located about 20 miles north of Austin in the city of Round Rock, Texas, Hairy Man Road actually has a continuing legend attached to it beyond the origin story told in this comment: According to Weird U.S., people traveling along the road long after the Hairy Man’s death have reported seeing “a large, very hairy man lurking in the bushes and overgrowth.”
The Hairy Man festivals sound fun; in 2017, the Cat Hollow one consisted of a 5K fun run and a “Spookyfest” featuring Hairy Man photo ops.
Sylvania, Ohio plays host to Gibbs Bridge (which I’ve also seen stylized as Gibb’s Bridge and Gibb’s Road Bridge), which is allegedly super haunted… although no really seems to know why or by what. Is it the result of a tragic car crash? Or a motorcycle crash? Something else? It’s anybody’s guess. Ghost hunters seem to love the place, though.
The Bragg Road Ghost Light
Hey, guess what? This story is well-known enough to have its very own Wikipedia page! Also known as the Light of Saratoga, the Bragg Road Ghost Light is the name given to a mysterious light that sometimes appears in the Big Thicket area of Southeast Texas. Its appearances seem to be random, and its disappearances come without warning. My guess is that it’s actually the result of swamp gas or something, but it’s super weird all the same. There’s apparently a similar light in Chapel Hill, Tenn., according to another commenter.
The road itself, by the way, takes its name from the railroad town that once occupied the area. But Bragg doesn’t exist anymore; it’s a literal ghost town. It adds a nice touch to the story, don't you think?
The Motel That Wasn’t There
Gotta love a good Eldritch Location. This trope pops up frequently in horror stories; I suspect it’s a relative of the old urban legend in which a girl goes to fetch a doctor for her mother, who has fallen ill while they were on vacation together, only to arrive back at her hotel to find her mother gone and the hotel staff insisting that she was never there. For a similar story in the creepypasta hall of fame, check out “Extra Ketchup” by Christopher Howard “Slimebeast” Wolf.
The Manchester Pusher
It hasn’t been proven that a serial killer has been at work in Manchester over the past decade and a half; indeed, the theory was put forth by a psychology professor at Birmingham City University in 2015, but police have roundly rejected the idea. Said a spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Police to the Manchester Evening News:
“GMP is committed to thoroughly investigating each and every unexplained death in Manchester and approach each one as potentially suspicious in its initial stages.
Only after a robust investigation into the circumstances of each death would investigators deem one to be 'non-suspicious' and pass the file to the coroner.
The coroner's post mortem would then ascertain the cause ofdeath, which would then be recorded accordingly by the investigating officer.
None of our investigations are carried out in isolation and as we have said publicly before, we have established no link between the various incidents recorded.”
Still, though — if there really have been that many deaths connected to the canal in recent years, it’s not surprising that people would start to try to explain the pattern to themselves by whatever means necessary. Humans don’t do well with ambiguity.
I’ve been to Clinton Road. It’s not haunted — the “Druidic temple” that’s just off the road is actually just an old furnace, and there’s no evidence that anything has ever happened in the area that would inspire a “ghost boy” to take up residence underneath the bridge on the road — but it is kind of terrifying to drive down.
Also, as this Redditor put it:
Well played, Dad.