For many, the U.S. is the authority on creepy, especially when it comes to urban legends and haunted locations. However, several countries around the world hold their own when it comes to eerie stories that will send a chill down your spine.
Here are 10 non-American urban legends to get your heart pounding and chills racing down your spine.
10Ghostly Marble Games
Singapore is the island of shopping malls and terrifying legends. When the Bishan MRT station opened in November 1987, several passengers reported seeing headless specters wandering around among the living. This might have had something to do with the fact that the station was built over the site of the former Peck San Theng cemetery. It also didn’t help that night-shift staff stated that they’d seen coffin bearers floating around in the tunnels linking Bishan and the Novena MRT station, which also just happened to have been built over a former cemetery.
Rushing home to the safety of your HDB won’t keep the spirits at bay, however. Legend still has it that several people complain about children in the apartment above theirs, in high-rise residential buildings, playing marbles until the early hours of the morning. When they eventually become frustrated enough and storm up to the apartment, they find it empty. Speaking to the landlord, they then realize that the apartment has been empty for months and that the family who lived there before never had any children.
9Corpse on the Tube
In 2007, a strange urban legend started making the rounds on the internet. It described an art student taking the tube home late one evening from central London. She and another man, looking to be in his mid-thirties, were the only passengers on the tube until three other people got on a few minutes later. Two men were holding up a woman between them, and the student immediately assumed the woman was passed out drunk or high.
She was studiously avoiding eye contact with them when the thirty-something passenger suddenly sat down next to her and whispered urgently that she needed to get off at the next stop. Looking back and forth between the man and the decidedly creepy-looking trio, she decided to exit the train. As she and the man stood watching the train depart, he turned to her and told her that he’d seen from his window how the two young men dragged the woman between them and that a pair of scissors had been embedded into her skull. Another version of the urban legend has it that the two men strangled the woman, and the crime was eventually discovered by a ticket guard.
8Last Resting Place of Terror
Australia has its fair share of terrifying animals and spiders, but in Brisbane, you’ll find creatures of the paranormal variety that might just send you running toward the Outback.
It is said that at the top of Avenue 12 inside the Toowong Cemetery, you will find the double grave of two sisters who died in a car accident. If you park your car at the bottom of the hill, the ghosts of the sisters will drag it slowly uphill to where a terrifying eternal fate awaits you.
At another cemetery, Goodna, a visitor has reported trying to leave after visiting a grave but could not get his car moving even though it was turned on. He struggled the entire night, and as the sun rose over the cemetery, he finally succeeded in getting the car going. Arriving home, he found deep scratches on either side of his car. Goodna Cemetery is filled with people who lived in the 1800s right up to the modern era. These remains include those of former patients of the old Brisbane Mental Hospital.
7The Haunting of La Mussara
The once-beautiful town of La Mussara in Vilaplana, Spain, now echoes with a haunting silence as its ruins stand guard over the plains of Tarragona. Officially, the town was abandoned after a severe endemic insect invasion decimated the vineyards upon which locals depended for their livelihood. Unofficially, the town was cursed, leading to its residents fleeing its confines.
Rumor has it that dense fog covers the town often, causing visitors to become disoriented. Those who have tried to explore La Mussara’s ruins have also reported hearing horses’ hooves and voices whispering in the distance. Some believe that the town holds a gateway to another realm known as La Vila del Sis. Jumping over a particular stone outside a specific house will cause you to cross over into this realm, where you will be greeted by horrifying creatures of the underworld.
Adding to the speculation and legend is the alleged disappearance of Enrique Martinez Ortiz, who set off on October 16, 1991, with a group of friends to collect mushrooms in La Mussara. During the trip, Enrique lagged behind his friends, and when they turned to look for him, he was gone. He has never been seen again.
6The Devil Himself
If it’s not the scream of a banshee shattering the tranquil atmosphere in the dark of night, it’s the scorched figure of Francis Bruen’s bride roaming around the Coolbawn House. Ireland has a horde of urban legends—and then some—when it comes to creepy ghosts, shadows, reapers, and more.
In 1766, the Tottenham family occupied the now-infamous Loftus Hall in County Wexford. When LordTottenham’s wife died unexpectedly, Tottenham soon remarried so that his new wife could assist in the bringing up of his two young daughters. During that time, many ships’ crews found themselves in trouble during storms, and after ending up wrecked on the shore, the survivors would be invited into Loftus Hall to take shelter. WhenTottenham’s youngest daughter, Anne, was grown up, yet another storm brought a young man to their doorstep. The man stayed for weeks as the storm continued to rage.
As time passed, Anne found herself drawn to the man. They would talk for hours inside the Tapestry Room and play cards until late. Then, one night, Anne dropped a card and noticed the man’s feet…or lack thereof. She screamed as she realized the man she had been growing close to was, in fact, the devil with hooves. The devil, in the meantime, transformed himself into a ball of fire and flew up through the roof before disappearing. Anne never recovered from the shock, and her family, who eventually grew fed up and embarrassed by her strange behavior, locked her in the Tapestry Room until her death in 1775.
Today, Loftus Hall is considered the most haunted house in Ireland, with Anne making her presence known every so often. You can also still see the hole in the roof, where the devil escaped after being found out.
The folklore of Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile includes the tale of the bad light. In northern Argentina, a light appears at night in the city of Mendoza. It hovers a few feet above the ground in the mountainside, with several motorists and especially truck drivers claiming to have seen it while on the road.
Native people in the area believe that the light is evil, and some visitors have claimed that it’s a fireball that chases those who travel alone. There is nothing to fear when the light is white, but if it appears green or red, travelers should run for their lives as they will be cursed with a lifetime of bad luck. Natives believe that the light could be the soul of a person who hasn’t received a proper burial and has come to seek revenge. A few of those who have tried to find the source of the light have apparently come across human remains.
Even in this day and age, there are still parents around the world who scare their children into submission with stories of the Bogeyman. The monster takes on different forms and names depending on the country, region, or culture. Still, the core message remains the same: Start listening or be eaten/kidnapped/tortured/killed by “insert relevant bogeyman name here.”
In Latin America, the monster is known as El Cuco. It can take on any form, including that of a human, and can hide anywhere, undetected. The legend of El Cuco was first mentioned in texts written by Diodorus Siculus, who claimed that Iberian soldiers would behead their enemies and pierce the heads with spears as an offering to El Cuco. Stephen King’s version of the legend says that El Cuco is a body of worms that infiltrates a person’s DNA before transforming into their likeness. In Portugal and Spain, the monster is believed to have a pumpkin head lit from inside by a candle.
Legend has it that during the 1990s, residents of small towns and villages in Karnataka in the southwestern region of India took to writing “Nale Ba” on their walls. This came after a rumor went viral of a witch knocking on a door of a family home and speaking in the voice of a beloved relative. This led a member of the family to open the door and unwittingly bring death upon the household. Families who heard this terrifying tale sought to protect themselves by writing “Nale Ba,” which means “come tomorrow” on their outside walls. When the witch approached their homes, she would read the words and then return the next day. This continued in an endless cycle, with the witch never again able to hurt anyone.
Today, some places still observe April 1 as Nale Ba day. In 2018 the Bollywood movie, Stree, was released with its director stating that some of the inspiration for the film was taken from the Nale Ba legend.
2Out of Control Jealousy
Those who have the opportunity to visit Amsterdam often head over to the Zeedijk. It is now part of Chinatown but used to be one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Unfortunately, it is also where a cold-blooded murder took place, and the screams of the unfortunate victim can still be heard tearing through the night.
In the early 1800s, sisters Dina and Helen fell in love with the same man. Wouter was a sailor who was in love with Dina and sent her several letters while at sea. Helena intercepted the letters and burned them. When Dina realized what Helena had done, she confronted her sister, leading to a fight. Enraged, Helena pushed her sister down the basement stairs of their home in the Zeedijk. Rushing down to the basement, she saw that Dina was still alive, upon which she beat her to death and left her body down there. Dina’s parents assumed their daughter’s death was an accident, and Helena eventually got her wish when she married a broken-hearted Wouter. However, her conscience got the better of her on her deathbed, and she admitted to killing Dina. Wouter was shocked and disgusted. He turned his back on his wife and left her to die alone.
Helena still wanders the streets in the Zeedijk, unable to rest, and causes cold shivers to run down the backs of the living. And on stormy nights, Dina’s spirit howls and wails, her ghostly voice carried by the wind, causing those who hear it to batten down the hatches and wait for the safety of the morning.
1The Screaming Woods
The Dering Woods have been nicknamed the Screaming Woods and are reputed to be one of the most haunted locations in Britain.
Those who have explored the woods have reported hearing screams coming from the depths of the forest and whispers floating up from behind them on foggy days. Some believe that the screams come from the restless souls of those who died during a massacre in 1948, after which 20 bodies were found among the trees on November 1. Residents who heard of the tragedy recalled seeing strange lights hovering inside the woods the night before, which happened to be Halloween night. Unfortunately, the autopsies performed on the bodies couldn’t determine a cause of death.
Others believe that a highwayman who had been captured and killed by villagers in the 18th century still roams the Dering Woods in a revenge mission. He screams in frustration and rage every so often at not being able to avenge his own death.