When I was a youngster, I used to hang around with this older neighbourhood kid who took great delight in tormenting me about the waterslide at Magic Mountain.
For anyone not born in Adelaide, Magic Mountain was a seaside theme park with lots of aquatic rides, including a giant waterslide. There was a long-standing myth that some lone psycho was embedding razor blades into Australia’s waterslides to cut kids to ribbons. I know, it sounds fucking ludicrous, but when you’re a 10-year-old kid who loves waterslides, you don’t take this lightly. But while it turned out to be untrue, this is just one of the thousands of lesser-known urban legends from over the years. Here’s another seven…
The 100 Steps Cemetery
If you’ve ever wanted to know how you’re going to be snuffed, pay a visit to the 100 Steps Cemetery in the small town of Brazil, Indiana. Stacked with headstones dating back to the 1860s, this ancient graveyard has a cracked path of 100 steps leading up a hill to a large clearing. It’s believed that if you enter the cemetery at midnight and climb the stairs, counting them as you go, you’ll be met by the ghost of the first undertaker who worked at the cemetery when you reach the clearing. He’ll show you a vision of your death and then vanish. When you descend the stairs, you recount your steps and if they are a different number than what you counted walking up… your death will come true! If you count 100 steps, though, the vision was false. It sounds like a load of horse-shit but people who’ve visited the graveyard have also experienced an unseen presence push them down the stairs and eerie voices muttering words such as ‘death’ and ‘widow.’
The Alaskan Triangle
As the name suggests, the Alaskan Triangle is an area of rugged wilderness in North America similar in shape… to a triangle. The A.T. first came to public attention in 1972 when a plane carrying US house Majority Leader Hale Boggs disappeared between Juneau and Anchorage. A massive, month-long search mission was conducted but nothing was found. All up, around 16,000 people—including hikers, plane passengers and locals—have disappeared in the region since 1988. While most believe the high number of missing people can be attributed to the many cliffs, crevasses, hidden valleys, and heavy snowfalls in the area, but there are some who believe it’s the work of… aliens. Or a shape-shifting demon called Kushtaka.
The Slit-mouthed Woman
Japan is full of weird and wonderful legends, but few give me the hebbie-jebbies like Kuchisake-onna, also known as the Slit-mouthed Woman. An adulterous wife who had her face sliced from ear to ear by her Samurai husband, Kuchisake-onna appears on the street at night wearing a surgical mask. She will approach you and ask if you think she’s pretty. Answer no and she’ll kill you with a sharp object (a knife, scissors, machete, or scythe). Answer yes and she’ll remove her mask to reveal her disfigured face and ask, ‘How about now?’ Answer no this time and she cuts you in half, answer yes and she’ll give you a Chelsea smile. While there doesn’t seem to be any way to avoid getting fucked-up by Kuchisake-onna, if you say she is average looking, apparently this confuses her, giving you enough time to leg it before she swings her blade.
Just as Kramer swears to have seen the Pigman, hundreds of Maryland residents claim to have witnessed the Goatman roaming the countryside for the last 50 years. There are two legends concerning the ax-wielding half-man, half-goat creature. The first focuses on a scientist working at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Centre who was conducting experiments with goats when something went wrong, turning him into the Goatman. Another legend claims he’s a hermit who lives in the woods and roams the roads of Beltsville, using his axe to damage the tyres of people’s cars so they can’t escape before he drags them off to his lair. Whichever you believe, the Goatman doesn’t sound like a nice fella.
Polybius Video Game
Sometime in 1981, a number of video game arcades in Portland were fitted with a new game called Polybius. The game was extremely addictive and people lining up for hours to have a shot. Men dressed in black were seen visiting the machines regularly to collect data, allegedly relating to the psychoactive effect the console was having on people. Players apparently began to have severe side effects after playing, including amnesia, insomnia, nightmares, and hallucinations. A month after the games appeared… they vanished. As did all trace they ever existed. Skeptics have delved into the mystery and believe it to be an urban myth started after two players fell ill while playing arcade games in Portland, but there are those who insist the CIA were behind the project and used the data they collected to help with their mind-control project, MKUltra.
The Seven Gates Of Hell
Why anyone would want to find an entrance to Hell is beyond me, but the Seven Gates Of Hell has become a regular hotspot for fans of the occult. Located in a wooded area of Hallam Township, there are two different stories regarding how the gates came to be. The most popular concerns an insane asylum that burnt down in a fire, killing all those inside. The townspeople erected the gates to keep anyone from escaping the fire, as they were afraid of the escaping inmates. The other story has to do with an eccentric physician who built the gates to protect the entrance to hell, understanding the danger it presents. While only one gate is visible during the day, at night you can see all seven, and if you manage to pass through them you will enter Hell. While there’s no evidence this one is true, it’s not likely someone would make it back from a trip to Hell, so I guess we’ll never know.
The boogieman of Staten Island, Cropsey was rumoured to be an escaped mental patient with a hook for a hand that hunted children and dragged them back to his lair beneath the abandoned Seaview Hospital. Parents would tell their kids about Cropsey to frightening them into being good and staying close to home. This urban legend even inspired the 1981 slasher flick The Burning, but fiction turned into reality when child kidnapper Andre Rand was captured and sentenced for the murder of a local child from the area. The former janitor of Willowbrook State School—an institution with a history of child mistreatment—lived in the forest where the body of a former student was found. Rand was convicted of murder and sent to jail but is believed to have kidnapped and killed a dozen other young girls, earning him the nickname Cropsey for the similarities between his evil actions and those of the urban legend.