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10 Haunting American Urban Legends to Tell in the Dark

Want to hear a scary story?


Urban legends make small towns go round. Some places put their unique spin on a popular tale of terror, while other towns possess their own legends inspired by the area’s horrific history. We tell these stories on the darkest of nights, around a campfire or during sleepovers with friends. While urban legends are rarely factually true, they do reveal important truths about our deepest, darkest fears.

With bonfire season on the way, now’s the perfect time to perfect your eerie tales. Here are 10 of America’s scariest urban legends guaranteed to rattle your bones.

1. The Grave of Lillian Gray

grave of lilly gray american urban legends
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  • Photo Credit: Find a Grave

This urban legend has captured the imaginations of the people of the Salt Lake City, Utah for years—not because the tale is horrifying, but because the mystery can be witnessed with your own eyes. In a nondescript cemetery in Salt Lake City, a gravestone marks the burial spot of Lilly E. Gray who died in 1958. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, until you read the last line “VICTIM OF THE BEAST 666.” The truth behind Gray’s chilling epitaph remains a mystery, and has inspired more than a few eerie tales about a woman possessed by evil. According to hospital records, she died of natural causes.


2. The Donkey Lady

This creepy tale of the Donkey Lady comes out of San Antonio, Texas. It tells of a woman who suffered severe burns that left her face disfigured and fused her fingers together to create the look of hoof-like stumps. Supposedly, she ostracized herself as a result of her appearance and grew hostile to anyone who approached her. It’s said she haunts the nearby woods—in particular, the bridge over Elm Creek—and is often the cause of motorcycle accidents. Unsuspecting drivers notice her horrifying appearance in their rearview mirror and lose control of their vehicle.