Tell Us an Urban Legend From Your Hometown

Illustration for article titled Tell Us an Urban Legend From Your Hometown
Screenshot: Urban Legend (1998

Regardless of where you’re from, you’ve probably heard a strange urban legend about your hometown. These range from run-of-the-mill playground talk to deeply disturbing mythology, and I want to hear all of them. Most of mine involved haunted, decrepit hospitals, but those are stories I’m saving for Halloween.

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If you were raised nomadic-style, like myself, just pick the best bit of folklore you heard from one particular place. If you have multiples, share ‘em! I’m confident they’re worth telling the internet. Bonus points if you actually name the location, but if you still live there and want to protect your anonymity, so be it! I understand. It’s a wild world out there.

And now, it’s time for last week’s winners. My apologies in advance for the sentimentality, but these are your stories about the time you felt fireworks:

MissMatched included two stories, about both literal and romantic/butterfly-inducing fireworks. You saw a concept, and you ran with it, and I appreciate you:

Fireworks twice with the same guy.

We met online, before that wasn’t a normal thing, 12 years ago. We finally met in person and he was so s nervouas. He finally got up the nerve and kissed me. The background disappeared. As far as I’m concerned, fireworks happened, violins appeared and played music, birds sang our names.

Then 4 years ago, my now-husband lit a firework that exploded and burned my parents’ house down, causing about 75k in damages. No one was hurt and all the pets made it out okay.

It wasn’t his fault but that doesn’t stop me from joking about it and his affinity for arson.

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Wonderland Burned wins. I know I haven’t been picking individual winners much these days, but they just.... they are No. 1:

My husband. I met him the second day of work, and just...wow. It was completely one of those super sappy, love at first site, Nicholas Sparks sort of shit. He was my first friend at a brand new job. We bonded over a love of all things horror and ‘70’s-‘80’s music. I had just as much a crush on him, if not more, all the way till the end. He passed away from a heart attack in April. I really just miss him so damn much. His birthday would have been July 3rd, so fireworks are pretty much shot for me.

PenguinLust2:ElectricBoogigloo, short and sweet and I love it:

May 4, 1984. My first kiss with “Jess” after seeing “Sixteen Candles” on the premier date (I was 15). I think about him every.single.day.

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OneArtPlease, this isn’t WATTPAD, but you should absolutely turn this into a very horny screenplay and then invoice me when it gets made:

I was temporarily living overseas in the UK for uni. I worked occasionally as a life drawing model (nude art model for artists) for various art classes. I was up there on the stage during one informal class in a fairly dark room, kind of blanking out (as you do, standing doing nothing for a half hour at a time). I noticed this guy drawing - he was being normal and everything but something kind of pinged off in my brain, like i had to talk to him somehow. So afterwards, end of class, i got changed, came back out and walked behind him as he was talking with a fellow artist about how the drawing went that night. I made some kind of joke like, ‘Oh, except the model, she was terrible’ so they looked back and laughed. He asked me about my accent and then why i was there. I explained and it turned out we were both in the same design profession. He talked about the studio he shared with a bunch of artists/designers, some of which were pretty well known in their fields. He was a regular freelancer and kind of obsessed with working with the more experienced guys and getting better. His studio was a 5 minute walk from my flat so I asked if he had a card and if i could visit the studio sometime and he gave it to me.

For one week I was sweating about contacting this guy, I was so nervous. But i called him and we agreed to meet for lunch at a pub nearby. When we met and sat down.......it was like meeting the mirror image of my inner self, mixed with my own artistic goals looking back at me. This combined with the feeling of being starved of much human interaction in a new country for months proved an explosive combination. We talked for 20 minutes straight, the waitress coming back twice to take our order before either had gotten around to looking at the menu. It turned into a 4 hour thing, just talking about whatever and laughing...it was like i had somehow known this person my whole life like how everything he said was like lego clicking into place in my brain. I felt like i was on drugs.

We parted with a hug - i remember being unsure about how he saw me - i was unable to tell if he was just a very friendly, relaxed person - several times that day some acquaintances of his walked past us and called out to him, very friendly and making jokes, and him the same way back.

Some days later we met for drinks at this pub by mine that i really liked he hadn’t been to. He loved the place and we spent another 2 hours drinking and talking. We went back to my place, smoked a joint and he sat with me at my computer looking at my artwork and other stuff, laughing and talking.

I felt my face getting very hot and eventually kind of blurt out, “Do you want to go out..like on a date sometime?” He just stops and kind of gets a puzzled look on his face and pauses. I immediately go, ‘Oh....SHIT.’ and he starts laughing and pats me on the leg and says, ‘No, no it just didn’t occur to me... i didn’t think of it...i don’t know?’ It’s now 4 am and he gets up to go and at the door i can’t help it, i kiss him. And he really kisses back, hard. He’s a very good kisser and he wraps his arms around me, tight. I feel like i’m about to burst. We go downstairs to the small lobby and wait for his cab by the wooden door. He is looking out the window, i tap him on the shoulder, he turns around and we kiss again, same as last time but then now he’s got his hand up my leg,under my skirt, on my ass and, shockingly, he puts his finger inside me momentarily. His cab shows up, he waves goodnight and leaves. I am standing in the lobby alone, all mussed up, high on the joint and high off him and so horny i could scream. I think i immediately went upstairs and masturbated :P

What ended up happening is we kept meeting like that for a month and i would always have to initiate anything physical but he was definitely more than happy to oblige. One time he invited me on a trip to a nearby town for the day, where we just did a ‘Before Sunrise’ and walked and talked for hours - coming back we were the only people on a train car so for the whole 30 minute ride we fooled around as much as possible with our clothes on, stopping only when the elderly train attendant walked through the car. Another case of going home feeling high and nowhere to go.

Eventually what happened was he didn’t want to be in a commitment ever again due to two long term failed relationships and he didn’t see his life going that way even though he knew we were so similar. If i wanted to be friends with benefits he was more than down.I was naturally totally heart broken and all i replied is that i couldn’t be just friends, it would never work for me. I cried so hard it kind of terrified my poor guy flatmate who was very familiar with the situation.

A few months later, before i leave the country for good I life model at that studio we met at again and he’s there and I work up there, naked, for 3 hours, him being forced to draw me, me looking somewhere else the whole time while he looks at me. We hung out after in the bar and it was just like old times and it was the same rush all over again but we had to keep it formal when we said goodbye. When i got back i was flattered that he had installed Skype and reached out to me, where for awhile we would talk for hours that way. Eventually he told me he planned a trip to my country (he also shared his studio with a guy from the same country) but then he cancelled it and that was it we just agreed not to talk again, it was too painful.

This was 6 years ago and a mutual friend says he’s still single to this day. I thought of course it was all bullshit, he just didn’t want a commitment with *me* not in general like he said but maybe that’s really how he felt. I still think of him and my heart hurts a little even though i’ve long moved on with someone else. But honestly? I don’t know if i will find someone like that again, they only come around once in a *very* long while.

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PhoebeCaulfieldTheThird gets me, FUCK (literal) FIREWORKS:

I never really cared about fireworks one way or the other. That changed in 1989 and now they make me feel nothing but dread.

Dad had his usual John Phillips Souza blasting, home made ice cream & bbq 4th of July celebration and the whole family was there. The fireworks came out as soon as it was dark with my brother taking charge and lighting them off one after the other. Me, I’m going about my business wrapping food & cleaning up dishes. I half notice my brother approaching a dud that hadn’t lit. Then I hear the pop and my brother sort of moan. Somebody yelled. Brother is holding his head in his hands.I start towards my brother and as I reach him & touch his arm he lowers his hands. There are literally burning embers embedded in his face and they’re red & glowing against the dark. He can’t see so I pull him towards the door. In what seemed like one fluid auto-pilot motion I opened the door, grabbed the dish towel off the counter, dipped it in the dish water & threw it onto his face. It sizzled as it hit the embers.

Off he went to the ER and in the end he is now ok though he does wear a beard to cover the scars. I fucking hate backyard fireworks now and can’t stand being my anywhere near them.

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nerdybirdy, lol:

The last time I felt fireworks was the first time I tried ecstasy.

Let’s hear those crazy suburban myths in the comments below.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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DISCUSSION

singedvinegar2
SingedVinegar2

Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss! A thread I can contribute multiple stories to!

As some of you know, I’m Scottish. And not just any sort of Scottish, but that terrifying sort - I’m a fucking Glaswegian. We’ll charm the knickers off you (or your man. We’re not fussy), shag you in an alley and then steal your chips and make off with your shoes. We’re an ancient lot. We can give you a Kiss or a Smile, just tell us which.  We’re the powerhouse of the Scottish economy and have been for over three hundred years. We’re the original melting pot and we’re the city of blood and watercolour, ruled over by an angry sky and feared by lesser cities (Edinburgh, you frosty bitch...we’re coming for you). And we’ve got urban legends to spare.

Our first story dives deep, deep into Glasgow’s ancient history and runs all the way back to when the city was first mentioned. I said we’re old - we’ve been here since before the Romans nonced their way north, had their collected arses well and truly tanned and were forced to build their precious wee walls (Antonine and Hadrian). We first emerged, it seems, at the confluence of two of Glasgow’s rivers - the Clyde, and the Molendinar Burn. And for centuries before the Christians fucked it all up, the settlement at the joining of the two rivers seemed to have had some major social and cultural importance, important enough for St Mungo to found his wee church in the area. And, here’s the thing - the Molendinar? Is now mostly hidden under roads and culverts and you rarely see it (though there are glimpses of it in various parks and places) And it’s haunted.

Note I didn’t say “it’s apparently haunted”. There isn’t a person in this city who knows about the history of the Molendinar that doesn’t say “allegedly”. The Molendinar is haunted. It was even the basis for a show, Sea of Souls, made way back in the early 2000s. The ghosts vary, from the benign to the mischievous, but never malevolent. The biggest urban legend around this river stems from the fact that where it runs, underground and contained by culverts, past the Cathedral and Royal Infirmary (and, spookily, the Glasgow Necropolis), whilst you can’t hear or see it...there are times when the river roars it’s presence, as though to remind you that it’s still there (but how could you forget, when it’s known that Glasgow is a city of rivers?)

The second one is both scary and fucking hilarious. There’s always been claims of an iron-toothed vampire in Glasgow, at least as far back as the 19th century. From what I know, it was known as Jenny wi’ the Iron Teeth (we’re nothing if not original with our names and I’ll thank you to remember that she’s more often known as “That cunt wi’ the iron teeth”) She apparently haunted Glasgow Green, feeding off randoms and children and then, in 1954, a very large gang were discovered roaming the Southern Necropolis (aye, we’ve got a few. And whit??), armed with weapons and stakes, aiming to end the hag. The hilarious thing? They were all children. That’s right folks - when some cities form posses it’s usually drunken men or women. In Glasgow? We send the weans to scalp you. If you want a job done properly, send in the children. (Jenny’s not been seen since, by the way. So they did something right...)

I think, because we’re such an ancient city, that a theory my Grandmother has about ghosts and hauntings can be proven - that ghosts aren’t actually the spirits of people who refuse to “cross over”, but that they’re the manifestation of a place or city’s memories. We’ve got haunted churches, museums, schools, parks, underground stations (Kelvinbridge underground station...where late at night you can hear the sound of laughter from the tunnels...) and even a haunted toilet. No, I’m serious on that last one. There was apparently a tenement building - long since destroyed - that had an outdoor toilet which was apparently haunted by an old woman who died taking a shit. But here’s the thing: Glasgow’s the sort of city whose bones are easily found...and rattled. We know that the ancient Britons and even the Picts placed great importance on water and it’s no coincidence that a large number of the hauntings in Glasgow are connected in some way to the rivers in Glasgow. Just in case you want to know which rivers are in Glasgow, I’ll list them: Clyde, Kelvin, Molendinar Burn, Levern Water, White Cart, the North Calder Water, the hilarious-sounding Rotten Calder (well, it does start in East Kilbride, Polo Mint City herself...) Allander Water, Luggie Water, Glazert Water...the list is pretty huge. And yeah, there are a lot of Glaswegians who believe that our rivers are haunted, either by yon spectral cunts who moon about your granny’s living room and knock over her good china or the ruins of the Industrial Era, a constant echo and reminder of what once came before.