Ghosts, Ghouls, and Urban Legends

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Ghosts, Ghouls, and Urban Legends

What do Kingsway's Students think of these Urban Legend topics?

What do Kingsway's Students think of these Urban Legend topics?

What do Kingsway's Students think of these Urban Legend topics?

What do Kingsway's Students think of these Urban Legend topics?

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Do you fear the unknown? The dark? Things that go bump in the night? If you do, you aren’t alone. Humans have made stories to explain situations for ages, passing them down from group to group.

One common form of story is the urban legend.  Urban legends are folk tales that are often passed between friends and family, usually with little knowledge about the exact origins. The stories are usually humorous or scary.

Popular urban legends include the tales of the supernatural, Bloody Mary, Big Foot, and, most noteably, Area 51.


The Supernatural

Tales of ghosts, ghouls, and hauntings are some of the most common urban legends out there. Usually, they begin with some form of death, which sets the scene for a haunting. The narrator of the tale finds themselves in the haunted setting and is plagued by the ghost until a final, dramatic scene. But why are ghosts so common?

Ghosts are the so-called culprit whenever something happens that seems unexplainable. Odd creaks and noises in the night, a peculiar draft of cold air, the shiver that goes down spines in cemeteries–all could be explained by ghosts, but there is usually a rational explanation.

For example, last week I was sitting in biology when a fellow classmate says ‘”There’s something in the vent!” Sure enough, the class could hear rattling up in the ceiling. With odd noises in the air ducts and the presence of the Halloween spirit, it would have been easy to explain the event as a ghost’s presence.

However, Ms. Taylor explained to the class that the air vents have an opening outside of the school, and it was a particularly windy day, which was why we could hear rattling. The class accepted the answer and moved on, ghost theory debunked.


Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary goes by many names, including Hell Mary, Bloody Bones, and Mary Worthington. She is called upon by standing in front of a darkened mirror, sometimes with candles around it. To summon her, one must recite the proper chant; the most common is repeating “Bloody Mary” in front of the mirror thirteen times. At the completion of the chant, Mary will appear in the mirror. Some accounts say that she will scratch your face, and others say that she will glare at the summoner through the glass.

There are a few guesses to Mary’s origin. Some believe Mary is a witch burned for practicing dark magic or the victim of a brutal car crash.

Other versions name her Mary I of  England, who was rumored to kill young girls so she could bathe in their blood to keep her beauty. Mary I did kill many people, but it wasn’t to take a blood bath. She killed Protestants in order to re-establish Catholicism as the dominant religion in England following the reign of her father, Henry VIII.

Still other people believe her to be Mary, Queen of Scots, but she is not a known murderer.

The presence of the mirror in the tale is related to the idea that mirrors are portals between worlds. Before funeral homes, the corpse would be viewed in the front parlor. Because of this, it was believed that the ghost would linger in the house for days. If the ghost viewed its reflection in the mirror, the spirit would become trapped in it.



Whether you call it Bigfoot or Sasquatch, the beast is depicted as a large, hairy figure, usually taller than the average human and extremely strong. Sightings range across America, from North Carolina to the Pacific Northwest. One common attribute sightings share is a forest setting.

Some signs of Bigfoot include large footprints and claw marks on trees.

People go camping with intent to find and prove Bigfoot’s existence. In fact, there is a whole organization called the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO). Is there a huge, hairy-covered figure traipsing around North America or is Bigfoot the product of overly imaginative campers who spotted a bear?


Area 51

Area 51 has become the most talked about urban legend in the past few months because of the ‘Area 51 Raid.’ In July, Matty Roberts created a Facebook event called ‘Storm Area 51’ as a joke, with the catchphrase “They can’t stop us all.” The event quickly took over the internet, spawning tons of memes.

People actually turned out to a music festival in Rachel, Nevada called Alien-Stock. While the event was nowhere near as big as the internet hype, it can be considered a success compared to 2017’s failed Fyre Festival.

Area 51 is a real Air Force Training base, but the claims of extraterrestrial life have yet to be proven. Alien conspiracy theories grew in the late eighties when a man who claimed he was a former employee of the base claimed the government was examining a recovered alien space ship. The existence of the base was not formally acknowledged until 2013 with the release of classified documents. In addition, the documents provided more information on the U-2, a spy plane. The plane was tested at the Area 51 base in 1955 and is the ‘UFO’ of many UFO claims. Other planes have since been tested at the location.

Are UFO’s real or can all sightings be explained as passing government planes?


While many urban legends can be explained with scientific reasoning, half the fun of the legends is the feeling of what if? What if ghosts roam the Earth and can be summoned in mirrors? What if there is an large humanoid creature prowling the woods? What if aliens exist?

This Halloween, have some fun. Ask yourself what if? 


Urban Legend Events

What do Kingsway’s Students think of these Urban Legend topics?

For those who enjoy writing, Writer’s Bloc is hosting its annual Urban Legends Contest on Halloween in Seminar Room 100 L1/L2.


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