Local stories and legends have the power to tie a community together with shared mythology, which endures from one generation to the next. Some of the most memorable are urban legends grounded in fear and told in whispers by the light of a flashlight. They send shivers down our spines, make children afraid of the dark, and they never go out of fashion.
TitleMax created this infographic of the scariest urban legends in each US state. They range from stories involving freakish goblins and radioactive hornets to dark portals. Terrifying creatures like the Goatman, the Bunny Man, and Annabelle The Demonic Doll are sure to make for great Halloween stories if you want to scare a bunch of kids on a sugar rush. For a truly blood-curling campfire story, recount the tale of Slaughterhouse Canyon in Kingman Arizona, the 1800s gold rush site where a brutal family murder took place.
And when you really look at the legends, trends begin to emerge. Several states, like Massachusetts, Maryland, and North Dakota, favor stories about fabled monsters like Pukwudgies, the Goatman, and the Miniwashitu. Others, like Delaware and Minnesota, have legends based in Native American folklore, featuring ancient curses and ancestral Wendigo monsters. Some stories, like Texas’s Candy Lady and Louisiana’s Rougarou, have creatures that specifically target children, and for classic ghost tales Hawaii, New Jersey, and Oregon have you covered.
A version of this article was previously published on October 19, 2018, and was updated on August 13, 2020, with more information.