The Evolution of the Urban Legend
Everyone has heard one form or another of the Urban Legend. They are told around campfires, or at slumber parties. Scary stories of ghosts, crazed lunatics, and bizarre occurrences. Why are we so drawn to them? The origin of the story is always vague and some details may change but the root of the story is always the same, to scare and shock. Usually these stories leave us questioning if this did or could this really happen.
What is interesting is how these stories have evolved due to the advancements in modern technology. We remember the legends from the older generations. Like the babysitter who keeps getting strange phone calls, an eerie voice telling her to check on the children. She soon realizes the calls are coming from within the house. Or, the ghostly stories such as someone picking up a lone hitchhiker, having a full conversation then suddenly the passenger becomes quiet, as the driver turns to look the hitchhiker is gone.
Yet now, with cell phones, and the internet, these legends we knew as kids are mere Childs’ play in comparrison. Modern technology gives us the opportunity to reach out to almost anyone, yet we never seem to question who or what can reach back. Spirits have been known to communicate through baby monitors, televisions and cameras, so why not computers?
These new internet based urban legends are called Creepy Pasta’s and they are everywhere. Some of them even bring a new twist to the old chain letter. Remember those letters we used to get before everything was through email and text, the ones that said, if you don’t pass this along to 5 or 10 people you’ll have bad luck? Well now these are chilling stories usually drawing you in with pity. You’ll read about a young girl who was bullied, it was taken too far and she was accidentally killed by her peers. As you proceed you will be warned that now you have read her story you must forward it to let others know or her ghost will appear to you and kill you as revenge.
With the advancements in video, there are several creepy pastas of haunted video games or children’s cartoons. These stories always involve someone getting a game or old copy of a classic cartoon. They take it home and settle in for some recreation. The fun turns to terror as the familiar scenes change and the beloved characters become angry or agitated and begin doing things that are not part of the script, dark, disturbing things. Soon the person who witnessed the horror will be haunted, not only by the images but sometimes by a ghost or demon that seemed to have been summoned by the strange scenes.
One of the creepiest ones I have read recently is the story of Funny Mouth. This is a rather long tale that describes a young man who is up late online chatting with friends. An unknown user with the name Funny Mouth pops up and starts saying things that seem strange and senseless. The young man briefly engages and only gets the emoticon for “staring” in return. He ignores Funny Mouth and goes to bed. He soon has a nightmare of lying in the grass and feeling a worm crawl on his neck. He wakes up to feel dampness on his neck but passes it off as drool. Soon he receives emails from Funny Mouth saying “I see your handsome face” and “you’ll like it.” So he blocks him. Then when he tries to log in to his website he sees Funny mouth has hacked it and only an image of a blurry face with a distorted jaw appears. The young man emails Funny Mouth back, threatening him and demanding he turn the site back to normal. That night he has a similar nightmare with the worm on his neck. The worm crawls up towards his mouth and he realizes it is not a worm but fingers, reaching in and pulling down. He cannot wake himself up. Finally he awakens, runs to the bathroom to look in the mirror. The bright light blurring the vision of his face in the mirror but his jaw, dislocated, he starts laughing uncontrollably as he thinks “What a handsome face, what a funny mouth.”