They are the things of slumber party legend: supernatural beings that appear at the mere mention of a name, or the wrong thought, and haunt you… to death. Stacy Title’s new feature, THE BYE BYE MAN, plays on this theme. THE BYE BYE MAN is a supernatural being that possesses your mind from the moment you become aware of him. Like urban legends before him, Bye Bye Man has mysterious origins. His name spreads like a curse, infecting your mind, leaving suicides, murder, and destruction in his wake. And as we all know, you can’t run from your own mind.
In honor of THE BYE BYE MAN, which hits theaters in January, on Friday the 13th, we have found seven other similar urban legends that can haunt you to death.
This was the spooky story that haunted me and my friends during my childhood. A group of girls would gather around a mirror in a dimly-lit room and say “Bloody Mary” three times. Bloody Mary was then said to appear in the mirror, as a ghoul and sometimes bloody. I remember doing this around age 6 at school, and all the girls running out of the bathroom before Bloody Mary could “attack,” but according to lore, Bloody Mary would start screaming at participants, and might strangle them, scratch out their eyes, or steal their soul. Historically, the “game” was meant to show a girl the face of the man they would marry, and if they saw a death face, it meant they would die before they could marry.
The Blonde in the Bathroom
The Brazilian version of Bloody Mary, the Blonde in the Bathroom was a bad girl who skipped classes, drank, and generally was up to no good. She slipped in the bathroom, hit her head on the toilet, and bled to death. To make her appear, it is said you must go to the last stall in the bathroom, kick the door three times, flush the toilet three times, turn a tap on and off three times, and say a curse word three times. It is said the Blonde has bloody cotton shoved in her nose and mouth, and has blood streaming from empty eye sockets.
This story comes out of Appalachia. Some say Soap Sally is an old woman; others say she is an old man dressed as an old woman. She stalks the region at dusk, looking for runaway children. When she finds them, she kidnaps them and turns them into Lye Soap, an old-fashioned kind of soap that was made of animal fat and bones. She would then sell the soap back to the parents, who would be washing their hands with their own children.
After the Civil War, a mental institution was built near Fairfax County, Virginia. Residents complained and it was eventually shut down, but during the transfer, many patients escaped. All but two were found immediately. Authorities followed a trail of half-eaten bunnies to a bridge, where one of the escapees was found dead, with a note attached to him that read “You’ll never find me, no matter how hard you try! Signed, the Bunny Man.” Legends say that if you walk over that bridge at midnight, the Bunny Man will grab you and hang you from the bridge.
“The Man Who Whistles” comes from Venezuela. As the story goes, a young boy lived with his mother, father, and grandfather, who spoiled him terribly. One day the boy asked his father for deer entrails to eat, and dad went to hunt for his son’s dinner. He returned empty-handed, which enraged the child. The child killed his father and gave his entrails to his mother to cook. When it was discovered what the child did, his grandfather punished him by tying him to a tree, whipping him, then rubbing lemon and peppers in the wounds. Grandfather gave the child a sack which contained the bloody remains of his father, put a curse on the child, and sent him off into the wilderness, with dogs nipping at his heels. The dogs finally killed the boy, activating the curse, turning him into a spirit that will roam the Earth forever, carrying the bones of his victims in a sack. The legend says that El Silbon will enter a victim’s house and start counting the bones he carries. If no one hears El Silbon, that means someone will die before sunrise. If they wake up and hear him, everyone in the house will have good luck.
The Black Dog of Meriden
In Meriden, Connecticut, there is the tale of a ghostly black dog. His paws leave no prints on the ground, and he makes no sound, even if he appears to be barking. He appears out of nowhere and disappears without a trace. According to legend, if you see the Black Dog once, it means joy; twice means sorrow; and if you see him a third time, it means you will die.
First mentioned in the short story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker, Candyman was the son of a slave who, during the Civil War, developed a method of mass-producing shoes, and was a talented painter. He fell in love with and had a child with a white woman, and her father hired an angry mob who cut off his painting hand and replaced it with a hook, then was coated in honey and allowed bees to sting him to death. If you said Candyman’s name five times while looking into a mirror, he will appear and kill you with his hook.
This story is done in partnership between Blumhouse.com and THE BYE BYE MAN.