Halloween, a contraction of All Hallow’s Evening, is a great time to share scary ghost stories about the unknown world around us.
Below are some of the more frightening and ghastly versions of urban legends that will send chills down your spine.
The Scariest Bedtime Story Ever
After a twelve hour workday and three hours of driving John, an insurance salesman, finally reached his motel. Exhausted, he paid for his room and shuffled his tired feet from the lobby to his assigned room. Once inside, he immediately noted a pungent smell. Too tired to complain and only booked for one night, he ignored the stench in favor of immediate rest. John had barely dropped his suitcase on the edge of the bed when fatigue forced his body to fall face down and adjacent to his luggage. John fell into a slumber within seconds.
With only a few hours of rest John was startled out of a deep sleep by the sound of a woman’s voice. He awoke startled and scanned his room for the source of the voice, only to find he was the only occupant. John noted the time of 3:00 am on the small alarm clock resting on the white nightstand. Still groggy he brushed off the sound he had heard as a dream or perhaps someone in the hallway, flipped over to lay on his back and quickly fell back to sleep.
Just a few minutes later he was abruptly awoken again by a woman’s voice but this time it was accompanied by a squeezing sensation around his neck. John’s eyes opened to the sight of a pale faced woman with large, round eyes. Her expression was one of pure terror and fright as her ice cold, outstretched hand squeezed John’s throat. His arms and legs frantically and desperately wailed beside him. John’s fingers brushed against his luggage and he was just able to reach the handle. After grabbing his suitcase he flung it at the torso of the pale woman attacking him.
In the next instant, the woman disappeared beneath the bed and the suitcase rested against the wall, having passed right through her. John jumped to his feet as he held his neck, awaiting the return of a normal cadence of breathing. His heart pounding in his chest, he stared at the small space beneath the box spring and the floor. Further shock overwhelmed him as the foul stench in the room doubled in intensity and assaulted his senses so that even his eyes watered.
John’s mind battled the physical pain of being choked in an effort to dismiss the terrifying event as a nightmare. The battle would not wage for long as once again he could hear the woman’s voice. This time, it was clearly coming from underneath the bed and he could discern the words, “Here, I’m here.”
Confusion coupled with paralyzing fear was joined by the growing anger inside of him and forced him into action. Without another consideration as to what was happening, he reached down and tossed the twin mattress off of the box spring to expose the horrific source of the night’s chilling events. John froze as his disbelieving eyes observed, hidden and strapped with thick tape to the underside of the mattress, the decomposing body of the woman who had, only seconds earlier, tried to choke him.
This urban legend has roots in a real event. In June of 1988, the decomposing remains of a 29 year old woman were found inside of a mattress in a room at the Oceanside Motel in Mineola, New York. It is reported that many guests have stayed in the room and complained about the smell until the corpse was finally discovered. The cause of death? Choking.
Buried Alive: A Cry For Help From The Grave
Ninety-two year old Jimmy Jones had been married to his wife, Edith for over seventy years. Their days together had passed in a familiar routine of eating, spending time with their numerous grandchildren, tending to their garden on their small farm and sleeping.
Jimmy woke one morning to find his longtime companion’s body silent and unmoving. He notified the local Sheriff and by late morning his wife was taken to the county morgue. Having insisted that his wife be buried on the family land where their farm proudly stood, a funeral was scheduled for the very next day.
Most of the small town’s inhabitants attended to show their respects but the event lasted only a brief thirty minutes. Later that day, Jimmy sat on a worn sofa to find himself living alone for the first time in over seven decades. His sudden loneliness and unbearable sadness quickly drained him emotionally and physically. Unable to bring himself to sleep in the bed which he had shared with his beloved Edith for so many years, Jimmy leaned his weary head on the arm of the couch and cried himself to sleep.
Soon after he had succumb to fatigue, he was awoken by the sound of his wife’s voice. He opened his eyes to the sight of his wife standing just a few feet from the sofa. She was surrounded by a bright light and wore an expression of desperation and fear.
She spoke the same words, repeatedly to her husband in a desperate plea, “I’m alive, Jimmy. Please help me, I’m alive!”
Jimmy shook his head and rubbed his eyes as the haunting image of his dear Edith pleaded with him to help her. Overwhelmed with grief, he cried out for his wife, “Edith!”
The vision vanished and left a grieving widower terrified, confused and in tears, alone in the dark living room.
The next night, Jimmy witnessed the same apparition of his wife along with her continued pleas for help. After the ghostly appearance ended and convinced his wife was still alive, he called and asked the Sheriff to exhume his wife’s body. The Sheriff managed to calm him down and told Jimmy that he believed it was only a grief-stricken dream.
Edith appeared to her husband again the next night which prompted another call to the Sheriff. Supposing that he would likely endure many more midnight calls unless he complied with Jimmy’s’ request, he drove to the farm with the coroner the very next morning.
After hours of digging, they finally uncovered Edith’s coffin. The coroner assisted the Sheriff with opening the cover while Jimmy looked over their efforts.
The three men gasped at the sight before them. Jimmy’s late wife’s pale body rested motionless in her coffin while Jimmy’s gaping eyes looked upon in horror at deep scratch marks on the inside of the coffin’s lid.
Sadly, this urban legend is very much based in actual events. During the 19th century, medical practice was hardly advanced and it was not unusual to assume that a motionless body was indeed dead without checking vital signs. It is supposed that of the over 100 discovered cases of premature burials, they were either in a coma or simply passed out.
Bloody Mary: Timeless Terror
Fourteen year-old Riley sat next to his younger sister at the dining room table. The siblings excitedly dumped their recently filled bags of Halloween candy on the dark, wooden table. As they had done on several previous Halloween nights, they organized the night’s sugary treats into piles of chocolate bars, lollipops, gum and of course, the unwanted, miscellaneous, generic brand candy.
Emily playfully poked fun at her older brother. “Mom says this is the last year you get to trick or treat.” Riley’s smile vanished from his face as she continued. “I get to go four more years.”
Riley tried to hide his disappointment and appear too mature for such an endeavor. “Trick or treating is for kids, anyway.”
Emily flashed incredulous, brown eyes at her brother and quipped, “More candy for me!”
As his little sister continued to categorize her treats, Riley decided to provide her with a trick.
“Wanna see a ghost?” He asked.
Emily’s attention left her pile of sugar and her eyes widened with expectancy. “Yes! Where?”
Riley explained. “If you stand in front of a mirror in the dark and say ‘Bloody Mary’ three times, a scary woman will appear.”
Emily’s interest instantly waned at what sounded like a silly game. “That’s not true.”
Riley had formulated a plan and needed her participation. “Are you scared?”
Ever the brave little girl, she replied, “No. I’ll do it.”
The siblings walked into the hallway bathroom. Emily stood in front of the mirror while Riley turned out the lights.
“Now, remember, you have to say her name three times and then switch on the light.” Riley explained.
Emily rolled her eyes. “I understand what to do, Riley.”
Riley smiled and closed the door to the bathroom. He waited with his ear pressed against the door as Emily began speaking.
“Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Blood Mary.”
Riley swung the bathroom door open with one hand and slammed his other against the wall creating a loud, startling noise just as his sister finished repeating the name. Emily screamed and jumped with her hand clutching her chest. Her fear almost immediately dissipated at her brother’s laughter and was replaced with anger.
“You were so scared!” He mocked through his continued laughs.
Emily stormed out of the bathroom and into the living room.
Riley, now feeling bad for scaring his younger sister, ceased his laughter and followed Emily while apologizing.
“Em, I’m sorry I scared you. I didn’t mean-”
Riley stopped a few feet away from his sister and stared in disbelief at the terrifying sight before him. Emily stared, wide-eyed into the large mirror that hung above the living room fireplace. Staring back at both of them, inside the mirror, was a gruesome visage of a sinister looking woman. Her face was a pale canvas behind splatters of blood and long strands of tangled, black hair. Dark, angry eyes locked their steely gaze on the siblings as they stood frozen witnesses to an evil apparition.
The temperature in the room dropped to almost freezing and the lights dimmed around them. The hateful eyes of the woman in the mirror narrowed as she cackled.
Riley reached out, grabbed Emily’s hand and began reciting a prayer of protection. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Emily drew upon her faith, moved past her fear and joined her brother.
In unison, they spoke with conviction, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me.”
The siblings turned their heads and gasped as the woman in the mirror screamed a high pitched howl. The next instant, the woman was gone from the mirror, the temperature in the room returned to normal and the lights were bright once again.
While the legend of Bloody Mary has been around for several decades, no one knows its true origin. Who she was changes as the legend is told. She has been described as an old witch burned at the stake for practicing the dark arts as well as a modern housewife who met an untimely death at the hand of an abusive husband. Even the rules vary as some versions state that she will appear and scare you after repeating her name three times while others claim she will pull you into the mirror with her after chanting her name a total of 13 times.
Gare Allen is the best-selling author of The Dead: A True Paranormal Story and 7 Lessons: 7 Short Stories of Reincarnation and Paranormal Experiences.
Visit him at https://gareallen.wordpress.com/