Have we really reached the end of our urban legend journey through the U.S.?! I guess we have. It’s almost hard to believe it, but here we are with the final five states in our creepy travelogue and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much I have writing about them.
Now, just because it’s the final chapter on this journey, don’t lose hope! These final five are just as good the first, and while we’re out of states, you never know where we might go next!
What’s your favorite urban legend of all time? Let us know in the comments!
Virginia: The Bunnyman
I’ve waited a long time to get to Virginia so I could talk about the Bunnyman. The story absolutely fascinates me. It is a true urban legend, born from two incidents in 1970, that has taken on a life of its own and inspired storytellers, filmmakers, artists, and musicians alike.
This is where it began in Burke, Virginia:
On October 19, 1970, Air Force Academy Cadet Robert Bennett and his fiancee were sitting in a parked car when a man dressed in a white bunny suit came running out of the trees with a hatchet yelling at the two, “You’re on private property and I have your tag number!”
The man proceeded to throw the hatchet at the car, which broke through the window and landed in the floorboard as Bennett scrambled to drive away. The man screamed as them as they escaped before skipping back into the woods.
Ten days later on October 29th, Paul Phillips, a construction security guard, discovered a man in a grey, black, and white bunny suit. Phillips got a much better look at the assailant, describing him as around 20 years old, 5’8″ and slightly chubby. The man began swinging an axe at a porch post yelling, “You are trespassing. If you come any closer, I’ll chop off your head.”
Fairfax County police opened investigations into the incidents, both of which were eventually closed due to lack of evidence.
It was just enough to spark the imagination of the locals, however.
What happened next is urban legend gold. Soon stories began to grow about the mysterious Bunnyman and his origins as well as his motives.
One such story travels back in time to 1904 when two escaped asylum patients fled into the woods near the area. Soon locals were finding skinned, half-eaten rabbit carcasses. Eventually, one of them was found hanging from the Fairfax Station Bridge with a crude, handmade hatchet in hat and authorities assumed the strange events were over. However, as more rabbit carcasses were found, it soon became clear that the other escapee was still on the loose.
Now, they say, the Bunnyman still haunts the area, terrorizing locals and hanging his victims from the same bridge as Halloween approaches. Of course, no evidence of this has ever been found, but that doesn’t stop parents from warning their children to be cautious on Halloween lest they fall prey to the Bunnyman.
This is just one version of the tales that have sprung up around the legendary villain, and it’s fascinating to me that it all seems to have grown out of two incidents in the 1970s by a man who seemed to be upset with the building of suburban neighborhoods in the area.
If you want to know more about the Bunnyman, I highly recommend Jenny Cutler Lopez’s article “Long Live the Bunnyman” from North Virginia Magazine from 2015. It covers the initial incidents but also goes into the way the lore has grown up around the Bunnyman.
Washington: Glowing Eyes in Mariner High School
Mariner High School in Everett, Washington is much like any other high school in the country except for one little detail. While some of the school’s lights are left on throughout the night like any other, on certain nights around midnight, the lights will flicker off plunging the grounds into darkness.
When this happens, some locals say, you can see a pair of glowing eyes shining from the darkness of the school. What’s more, they say if you stare at the eyes long enough, you’ll begin to see the figure of a winged man inside the school.
Is this some unofficial, supernatural mascot? Does Mothman’s little brother attend night classes? No one is certain, but they say you can feel the eyes looking at you before you can see them, and that makes it just the right kind of creepy for this list.
West Virginia: The Headless Students of Monongalia County
This urban legend is another that drew life from a tragic and very real homicide case in January, 1970. Two co-eds, Mared Malerik and Karen Ferrell, were trying to hitch a ride after leaving the movies late that January night. They were never seen again until their decapitated bodies were found in the woods months later.
Locals were rightly horrified by the case, and after five years it still wasn’t solved until a man named Eugene Clawson confessed to the murders. Here’s the thing, though. While Clawson was undeniably a bad guy–he was also convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl–most people didn’t think he was actually guilty of the murders of the two young women in question.
The case has been the subject of podcasts, investigations, and books since Clawson’s arrest and conviction, and almost no one thinks he actually committed this crime.
So who did? For every investigator, there is a different suspect, and it’s really hard to say.
What we do know is that since that time, rumors and reports of sightings of two headless women have cropped up along the stretch of road where Mared and Karen were last seen. In fact, more than one car accident has been blamed on the apparitions distracting motorists.
Are these spirits reliving their final moments or an urban legend borne of tragedy to warn young people of the dangers of hitchhiking?
Wisconsin: The Phantom of Ridgeway aka The Ridgeway Ghost
A lonely stretch of road near Dodgeville, Wisconsin is home to a terrifying phantom that is supposedly the combined spirit of two brothers who died in a bar brawl in the 1840s.
Since that time, supposedly in cycles of 40 years, the phantom returns. What is especially creepy about this urban legend, however, is the shape-shifting element of the spirit. At various times, the Ridgeway Ghost has been seen as animals like dogs and pigs as well as taking on the form of men and women and even large balls of fire. At least one report has even included a headless horseman.
Some locals call the phantom’s sighting the work of pranksters, but those who have experienced the phenomena first-hand will tell you otherwise.
Wyoming: The Ship of Death on the North Platte River
I’m a sucker for a good ship story…
Since the 1860s, a mysterious phantom vessel has been reported along the North Platte River in Wyoming. It appears in a fog bank in the middle of the day–when such things normally wouldn’t exist–and looms from the shadows, covered in frost with a ghostly crew on its decks.
What’s most terrifying about this ship is that it reportedly appears just before someone dies. Furthermore, they say you’ll actually see an apparition of the person destined to die on the deck of the ship, frost-covered like the rest of the crew.
There are numerous stories about the Ship of Death, but I’ll only share this one recorded on Only In Your State:
Over 100 years ago, a trapper named Leon Webber reported his encounter with the spectral ship. At first, all he saw was an enormous ball of fog. He rushed to the river’s edge to get a closer look and even tossed a stone at the swirling mass. It immediately took the form of a sailing ship, it’s mast and sails covered in silvery, sparkling frost.
Webber could see several sailors, also covered in frost, crowded around something lying on the ship’s deck. When they stepped away affording him a clear view, he was stunned to see it was the corpse of a girl they’d been looking at. Looking closer, the trapper recognized her as his fiancee. Imagine his shock when he returned home a month later to learn that his beloved had died the same day he’d seen the frightening apparition.
For more of these stories from, CLICK HERE.
Well…that’s it. We’ve covered my favorite creepy urban legend from each of the 50 states in the U.S. Did you have a favorite? Were there others you would have preferred? Let us know what you think below!