We all grew up without the Internet, with media that tended to be more hyper local and in different parts of the country, but somehow Gen X all knew some version of the same urban legends. How does that happen? Do you remember these?

Bloody Mary

According to this one you go into the bathroom, turn out the  lights and turn around three times while saying the words “Bloody Mary” three times. This would call her up from hell and you would see her in the mirror. The legend went that kids who had tried this were actually found dead in the bathroom. I don’t know about you, but despite several attempts at this my friends and I got too scared to ever actually complete it.

My teenage daughter says her friends tried it once, so this legend is clearly floating around. She also said they didn’t actually finish it because they freaked themselves out. Nice to know some things stay the same!

Light as a feather, stiff as a board

This is a slumber party classic. And I don’t know if my memory is rusty, but I distinctly remember it working and it was freaky. It worked by one person would be a “dead person” and the others would all sit around her in a circle and place two fingers from each hand under her body then chant “light as a feather, stiff as a board” and the person would go stiff and you could lift her up with just your fingers.

Hulu made a teen scare flick out of this that has at least three seasons, so I would bet it is still being played at slumber parties, especially in October.

The dangling arm with a hook

This is one of those I suspect was invented to try to prevent kids from parking. Do they still even do that? (Hey Gen Z, if you don’t know what I’m talking about “parking” refers to finding a secluded spot to park your car and be some degree of intimate with your significant other.)

Anyhow, as the legend goes, two kids were parked on lovers lane making out and then they heard an announcement on the radio that a lunatic had escaped from an insane asylum and was attacking people around town. He was recognizable by having one hook for a hand. The kids decide they had better head home because that’s creepy, and when they get home they get out of the car and the girl screams loudly because there, attached to her door handle was a bloody arm hanging from a hook attached to the door handle. They were just a minute short of being attacked….

I’m not really sure why this had to be a hook, but that came up a lot back in the day.

The man with an axe in the back seat

The story goes that a woman is driving alone down an empty highway when a truck comes speeding up behind her flashing his lights and honking. She tries to let him pass but he won’t, he stays right behind her. When she gets to the next gas station she pulls in because the truck driver has totally freaked her out. She runs into the gas station and the attendants’ eyes get wide as he looks out at her car (while the truck pulls in). Getting out of her car is a man with an axe. The truck driver tackles him. It turns out every time the man with the axe started to come up to attack her the truck driver flashed his lights and honked to make him hide again.

I don’t know where or how this one started, but to this day I check my back seat for a man with an axe before getting in my car. Do you?

The teens with braces

This one had to have been started to try to get teens to not kiss each other. It’s pretty absurd when you think about it.

As the legend goes, two kids with braces were making out and they got locked together so they had to be taken to the doctor to be separated.

Richard Gere and the gerbil

Okay, I’m not going to dignify this with any details, but if you are in Gen X it doesn’t matter where you lived (I have friends that grew up on the east and west coasts as well as Florida and Texas and they heard the same nonsense I heard growing up in the Midwest) you heard this urban legend.

How does that happen? It’s not like it was something they would talk about on the news, right???

It’s mind boggling that without the Internet stuff like this became so widespread. Makes me wonder about the damage our generation could have done if we had the Internet.

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About Veronica Rose

Veronica is a lifelong writer and proud member of Gen X. When she is not parenting her large brood she is writing about nostalgia for the weird world she grew up in.

View all posts by Veronica Rose