Famous Urban Legends From Every State

Famous Urban Legends From Every State

The 50 U.S. states have at least 50 unique creepy urban legends that have been passed down through the years. 

24/7 Tempo has compiled an urban legend from every state by culling information and material from sources such as state-focused websites including Indyencyclopedia, Discovering Montana, and the History of Massachusetts blog; online travel sites such as Legends of America; and media such as Reader’s Digest, the Denver Post, and Boise Dev. Most of these legends have some basis in fact.

Even though each episode is unique to the state, many of the urban legends involve paranormal activity. Much of this occurs around cemeteries, former Civil War POW camps, and Native American reservations. 

Other urban legends have their origins in curses in historic places such as Salem, Mass., the site of the witch hysteria of the 17th century; mysterious disappearances; and claims of monsters, swamp things, or hulking BigFoot-type creatures. (Here are 27 of the world’s biggest unsolved mysteries.)

A few of the urban legends on our list defy categorization and are no less difficult to explain. Philadelphia folklore tells of a bus that has no destination but shows up to people going through tough times. There is the enduring rumor that movie magic maker Walt Disney had his body cryogenically frozen and kept in a vault. A more recent creepy story involves newly arrived residents of a house in Westfield, New Jersey, who receive letters from someone who calls himself The Watcher, a person claiming to be tasked with watching over the house. This eerie episode became the topic of a Netflix series that starred Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale.

Here are the famous urban legends from every state.


Maple Hill Cemetery by Shannon McGee
Source: shan213 / Flickr

  • Urban legend: Dead Children’s Playground

There is nothing seemingly unusual about a playground near Huntsville’s Maple Hill Cemetery. Yet passersby claim they can see the swings moving on their own, as well as floating orbs or spectral figures. Children who were buried in the cemetery had fallen victim to the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918.


Source: urbanglimpses / iStock via Getty Images

Source: urbanglimpses / iStock via Getty Images
  • Urban legend: Alaska Triangle

You’ve heard of the Bermuda Triangle, the area of unexplained disappearances of ships and planes? Well, there’s a similar triangle in the last frontier. It stretches between Juneau, Barrow, and Anchorage. More than 16,000 people have reportedly gone missing in the Alaska Triangle since 1988.


Waiting for the stagecoach by Mark Gunn
Source: mark-gunn / Flickr

  • Urban legend: Skinwalkers

The Skinwalkers are a legend among the Navajo. They are believed to be normal people during the day, who turn into animals and perform evil deeds, such as murdering a family member.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Urban legend: Dog boy

Dog boy is a werewolf-like creature that allegedly stalks the north-central Arkansas town of Quitman. The story is based on a man who did experiments on stray animals.


Source: 93558439@N05 / Flickr

Source: 93558439@N05 / Flickr
  • Urban legend: Dark watchers

These specters have allegedly been spotted in the Santa Lucia Mountains. They were referenced by writer John Steinbeck in his novel “Flight.”


Source: IMNATURE / iStock via Getty Images

Source: IMNATURE / iStock via Getty Images
  • Urban legend: Underground city in Denver

Denver International Airport is the subject of many rumors in Colorado. Beneath the airport are reportedly subterranean bunkers, secret society meeting places, aliens, and even lizard people. The Denver Post published a tongue-in-cheek guide to the airport in 2016.


Cornwall Bridge station and Cornwall Bridge by Pi.1415926535
Source: Pi.1415926535 / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Dudleytown demons

Bad fortunes began to plague Dudleytown in the 1700s, and gave it its nickname “Village of the Damned.” The town in northwestern Connecticut is deserted and is said to have been the site of many suicides, disappearances, and even demonic activity.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Urban legend: Fort Delaware

The fort in Delaware City was the site of a Confederate prison of war camp during the Civil War. Prisoners who died there are said to haunt the place.


Source: Hulton Archive / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Source: Hulton Archive / Archive Photos via Getty Images
  • Urban legend: Frozen Walt Disney

In the decades following Walt Disney’s death in November 1966, conspiracy theorists have believed a myth that his cryogenically frozen corpse is stored in a hidden vault.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Urban legend: Cursed pillar in Augusta

Residents of Augusta had to beware of a 10-foot-tall pillar on 5th and Broad Street that was said to be cursed. Legend has it that after an evangelist was forbidden from preaching there, he “threatened that a great wind would destroy the place except for one pillar and that whoever tried to remove this remaining pillar would be struck dead.” A storm or a tornado did the job, leaving only a pillar. Supposedly, several attempts to remove the pillar ended with people dying. Eventually a car plowed into it and ended the pillar’s existence.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Urban legend: Morgan’s Corner

Morgan’s Corner in Oahu is near the site of a legend that has echoes in other states. A boy and a girl are parked under a tree at Morgan’s Corner late one night. The car won’t start and the boy leaves the girl alone to get help. She hears strange noises on the roof, and hides on the floor of the car. The next morning police find her and tell her not to look back. When she does, she sees her boyfriend hanging from the tree, toes scraping the roof of the car.


Payette Lake, McCall, Idaho by Ken Lund
Source: kenlund / Flickr

  • Urban legend: Monster of Payette Lake

Scotland has the Loch Ness monster, and Idaho has the Monster of Payette Lake, aka Sharlie. It’s said to be 35 feet long, with a dinosaur-like head, humps like a camel, and shell-like skin.


Bachelors Grove Cemetery MattHucke group by MattHucke
Source: MattHucke / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is often called one of the most haunted graveyards in America. Among its alleged phantom sightings are a “White Lady” and a spectral white farmhouse.


  • Urban legend: Tourist in Indianapolis 500

A motorist passing through Indianapolis was unexpectedly caught in race-day traffic and pulled by the stream of cars into the infield of the Indianapolis 500.


Source: welcomia / iStock via Getty Images

Source: welcomia / iStock via Getty Images
  • Urban legend: Bogus dead body warning

In 2016, emails and Facebook posts began appearing in the Ames, Iowa, area, warning women drivers to beware of stopping should they see what appeared to be a body in the road. The story claims a woman found a body on a road and kept driving and called 911. She later found out it was a scheme to rob unsuspecting drivers by people waiting in a road ditch.


Stull Intersection by Bhall87
Source: Bhall87 / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Hamburger Man

The Hamburger Man of Stull in northeastern Kansas is allegedly a disfigured farmer who takes victims to his cabin in the woods and grinds them into hamburger meat. The legend has its origins in the 1950s when hitchhikers started disappearing.


HogansFountainDetailEnidYandell by Alan Canon
Source: Alan Canon / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Statue of Pan

In Cherokee Park, Hogan’s Fountain has a statue of the puckish Greek god Pan. The legend is that every full moon, the figure of Pan wanders the park, causing mischief for passersby.


Lake Providence by NatalieMaynor
Source: nataliemaynor / Flickr

  • Urban legend: The Grunch

The Grunch is a monster that is allegedly part goat that supposedly preys on motorists stuck on roads near swamps in the New Orleans area.


  • Urban legend: Wood Island Light

Wood Island Light on the southern coast of Maine is the site of purported strange moans, unexplained shadows, and other indicators of paranormal activity. A murder-suicide took place there in 1896.


Source: Public Domain / Picryl

Source: Public Domain / Picryl
  • Urban legend: Black Aggie statue

The eyes of the statue erected in Pikesville Druid Ridge Cemetery Pikesville, Maryland, just outside Baltimore, are said to turn red at night. If you sit on her lap at midnight you will allegedly meet your own demise within two weeks.


Salem, Mass by Nick Ares
Source: aresauburnphotos / Flickr

  • Urban legend: Curse of Giles Corey

During the Salem witch hysteria in the 17th century, Giles Corey was coerced into a confession about witch activity. As he lay dying, he placed a curse on the town. For generations, his apparition has allegedly appeared in the cemetery and terrible events would follow.


13 Mile by Al Rau
Source: Al Rau / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Hell’s Bridge

In Algoma Township in southwestern Michigan, people claim to hear the voices of children who were slain by a deranged preacher.


Reservoir Woods Park by McGhiever
Source: McGhiever / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Hairy Man of Vergas Trail

Hairy Man is allegedly an 8-foot tall, musty-smelling, barefoot man with a reputation for being very aggressive when he’s seen in the woods. A man claimed to return from the woods with dents on his car hood and said the Hairy Man jumped onto the road and began pounding the hood. The tale sounds very similar to BigFoot.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Urban legend: Three-legged lady of Nash Road

The ghost of a three-legged woman chases motorists down a road in northeastern Columbus, Mississippi.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Urban legend: Equadome

A water treatment plant in St. Charles County in eastern Missouri that’s been abandoned for decades allegedly hosted satanic cultists.


Source: jotily / iStock via Getty Images

Source: jotily / iStock via Getty Images
  • Urban legend: Vanishing Langville

Since the early 2000s, people have been convinced that the small town of Langville, Montana, was once real, but people can’t find it, even though it was on a map. It’s said the whole town mysteriously disappeared overnight. Those who believe that town existed say it was on the eastern plains of the state.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Urban legend: Seven Sisters Road

After a dispute with his family in Otoe County in southeastern Nebraska, a young man led each of his sisters to seven different hills and hung them from a different tree. The area is said to be haunted by the women’s restless spirits.


Source: Dean Clarke / Shutterstock

Source: Dean Clarke / Shutterstock
  • Urban legend: Area 51

The much ballyhooed Area 51 in Nevada, a classified U.S. military base near Groom Lake in southern Nevada, is allegedly where the U.S. government is keeping aliens and captured spacecraft.

New Hampshire

White Island Light, Isles of S... by trialsanderrors
Source: trialsanderrors / Flickr

  • Urban legend: Cursed Isles of Shoals

The Isles of Shoals off New Hampshire’s eastern shore was the site of ax murders of two young women in the late 1870s. Apparently you can still hear them screaming, often late at night.

New Jersey

Source: Tomsmith585 / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Source: Tomsmith585 / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Urban legend: The Watcher

One of the more recent creepy episodes on our list occurred in Westfield, New Jersey, an affluent suburb of New York City. A newly arrived family in Westfield in 2014 received increasingly disturbing letters from a person who called himself The Watcher who claimed it was his duty to watch over the house.

New Mexico

Mt. Elbert by Hogs555
Source: Hogs555 / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Aliens in Dulce

Besides Roswell, another New Mexico town — Dulce — in the northern part of the state has an alien legend. Supposedly the area sits next to a giant high-tech underground facility full of aliens.

New York

Montauk Project by Stan Wiechers
Source: whoisstan / Flickr

  • Urban legend: Montauk Project

The Montauk Project is a series of purported government experiments, similar to the famous Philadelphia Experiment, that were conducted in Montauk, Long Island, in the early 1980s.

North Carolina

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Urban legend: Ghost ship

When the ship the Carroll A. Deering was wrecked along the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks in the winter of 1921, the ship was empty. No one knew what happened to its crew. People suspected a mutiny or a collision with another ship. Some even said the Bolsheviks from the newly created Soviet Union had taken it.

North Dakota

Tagus north dakota 2009 by afiler
Source: afiler / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Stairway to Hell

The stairway to Hell can allegedly be found in the remains of an old Lutheran Church in Tagus, North Dakota, a town built along the Great Northern Railway’s transcontinental route. Watch your step.


Gore Orphanage Site 1 by JoshH21
Source: JoshH21 / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Gore orphanage fire

Fire consumed the orphanage in Lorain County in northern Ohio in the 1800s and killed all the children inside. Locals say that if you visit the site where the orphanage stood, you can still see the ghosts of the dead children, hear them playing, or smell their burning flesh.


RuralBeaverCountyOklahoma by DrunkDriver
Source: DrunkDriver / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Disappearances in Beaver Dune Park

Reports of strange events in Beaver Dunes Park on the Oklahoma Panhandle date from the 16th century, when three Spanish conquistadors supposedly vanished into a flash of green light as they searched for gold in the dunes. Also, supposedly a UFO crashed in the area.


  • Urban legend: Bandage Man

A specter allegedly of someone killed in a mill accident clad in bandages like a mummy haunts part of a highway near the town of Cannon Beach in northwestern Oregon. Stories said that he eats dogs and jumps into the back of pickups and sedans, reeking from the stench of rotting flesh.


Philadelphia by Chris Yunker
Source: chris-yunker / Flickr

  • Urban legend: Destination: nowhere

Folklore in Philadelphia claims that there’s a bus in the city that doesn’t have a destination or show up on any transit maps, but it appears when people are down on their luck and looking for a way out.

Rhode Island

Providence Athenaeum by Eden, Janine and Jim
Source: edenpictures / Flickr

  • Urban legend: Fountain in Providence

The nearly 200-year-old Providence Athenaeum was once the residence for Edgar Allan Poe in 1848. Before he left the city, Poe allegedly put a hex on the fountain. According to legend, if you drink from it, you’ll either return to the city or never leave it. The problem with the legend is the fountain was built in 1873, 24 years after Poe died.

South Carolina

Source: ericfoltz / E+ via Getty Images

Source: ericfoltz / E+ via Getty Images
  • Urban legend: Lizard Man

In the summer of 1988, a 17-year-old boy from Lee County, in the coastal region of northeastern South Carolina, reported to police that after his car broke down near a swamp, a 7-foot-tall creature he claimed had “searing red eyes, three-clawed fingers and snake-like scales” reportedly chased him and attacked his car. Other people had similar stories. The so-called Lizard Man was never found.

South Dakota

Source: Volodymyr Cheppel / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Volodymyr Cheppel / iStock via Getty Images
  • Urban legend: Walking Sam

Teens claimed a slender spirit dubbed Walking Sam appeared before them and commanded them to kill themselves. In 2014, there were 103 suicide attempts on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southern South Dakota that were attributed to the presence of the Walking Sam figure.


Walland-miller-cove by Brian Stansberry
Source: Brian Stansberry / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Skinned Tom

A man in Tennessee caught his wife cheating on him and skinned him alive. He supposedly haunts other Lovers’ Lanes along the Tennessee and Kentucky border.


Source: Brett_Hondow / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Source: Brett_Hondow / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Urban legend: Black-Eyed Children

The Black-Eyed Children are said to be seen wandering around Walmart parking lots and Sonic Drive-Ins in Texas. They ask unsuspecting people for a ride home or some petty cash.


Petrified Forest Panorama by Frank Pierson
Source: frankpierson / Flickr

  • Urban legend: Petrified Forest curse

There’s said to be a curse that befalls those who take things from the park. Visitors who’ve taken souvenirs claim unlucky things have happened to them afterward, from strange accidents to breakups and terminal illnesses.


WilliamHaydeHouseAlbanyVermontUSA2 by Panelson60
Source: Panelson60 / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Hayden Family curse

Paranormal activity is said to haunt a house in Albany in northern Vermont. The origin of the story starts with William Hayden, a wealthy landowner in the early 1800s, who did not repay a loan to his mother-in-law. As she lay dying, she’s alleged to have said “The Hayden name shall die in the third generation and the last to bear the name shall die in poverty.” Thereafter, the Hayden family was plagued with financial disasters and illnesses. Phantom music, mysterious lights, and other assorted unexplained phenomena are said to occur on the estate.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Urban legend: Bunny Man

As the story goes, in 1904, some of the most dangerous patients from an insane asylum in Clifton in northern Virginia were being moved to a prison when the institution’s bus crashed on Fairfax Station Bridge. All but one of the inmates was recaptured. In his wake, he left a trail of dead rabbits hanging from the bridge. On Halloween night that same year, several teens hanging out under the bridge were attacked at midnight – and met the same fate as the bunnies.


Maltby Cemetery by Michael Patterson
Source: Michael Patterson / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Maltby’s 13 Steps to Hell

In Maltby Cemetery, at the northwestern Washington state town of Maltby, you’ll find 13 steps leading to an underground crypt. Legend has it that anyone who goes down those steps will see a vision of hell so terrifying that it will drive them insane.

West Virginia

  • Urban legend: Screaming Jenny

The story dates from the mid-1800s and is about a young woman with no family squatting in a storage shed along the Harpers Ferry railroad depot. She lit a fire and her clothes caught fire. She fled toward the railroad tracks with clothes ablaze and didn’t see an oncoming train until it was too late. Residents of Harpers Ferry claim that you can still spot her on the anniversary of her death, engulfed by flames and trying to find help.


Appleton Facing East by Ragingpeasant
Source: Ragingpeasant / Wikimedia Commons

  • Urban legend: Bloody Headstone at Riverside Cemetery

This urban legend in Appleton in eastern Wisconsin tells the story of Kate Blood, who is said to have killed her husband and three children, after which she committed suicide. Her headstone at Riverside Cemetery in Appleton allegedly drips with blood every full moon.


Source: Coompia77 / Shutterstock.com

Source: jmoor17 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Urban legend: Ship of death

There’s said to be a haunted ship that sails along the North Platte River. Apparently, the vessel that comes out of the fog and its crew is covered with frost. The ship is said to foreshadow the death of someone on the same day the ship is seen. In fact, the person’s corpse is apparently seen on the deck of the ship.

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