Rick's List — Urban Legends Edition

Without urban legends, there would only be 11 horror films in history. They're THAT important! Occasionally, though, urban legends are real. I know this for a fact.

Growing up, there was a cemetery just south of Dallas in a community called Lancaster. I assume it's still there unless Lancaster decided to relocate, oh, several thousands of their dead. (Thought: We have room in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood! Bring 'em on!). Anyway, the cemetery is very large and is bisected down the middle by a farm-to-market road.

The spooky legend was that a sexton lived on-site in a mobile home. His name was Woo-Woo — yes, I know, but remember, he was a gravedigger, not president of a law school. Supposedly, if you drove down the cemetery road and loudly hollered "Woo-Woo!, WOO-WOO!" he would race out of his trailer and fire his shotgun at you.

Late one Friday night, several of us piled in my sporty Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 and headed to Lancaster to give it a try. Why not? The worst that could happen is that ... well, that he would shred us with shotgun blasts. But no cause for alarm ... it was an urban legend, right?

Nearly 50 years later, the rotting cheesecloth called my brain specifically remembers that Charles Pittman and Gary McGuire were in that Dynamic 88. Gary confirms that, and we know there were five of us total — we just can't pinpoint the other two. We drove by once, scoping the place out — and spotted Woo-Woo's trailer with a light on. We made a few passes, screaming "Woo-Woo!" in a fractured harmony that'd make Pavement sound like the Beach Boys. The last time by, well ... the door flew open, Woo-Woo raced out and fired his shotgun and pockmarked the side of my car. None of us were hit but, by God, it really happened.

Since then, I find urban "legends" disconcerting, and they make me uncomfortable. That's why I've come up with some boring urban legends for those amongst of given to anxiety:

1. Once a year on Halloween, a sinister man enters a quiet bar and eats six hard-boiled eggs. Then he leaves.

2. A young couple is parked on a lonely road, fooling around under the moon. Suddenly, they hear something! It's the wind.

3. A beautiful woman in a wedding gown is hitchhiking at midnight on a different lonely road. She asks to be taken to her parents' house. The driver obliges. But once they get there ... she thanks him and says goodnight.

4. A teen babysitter calls 911 because she's getting threatening phone calls. "Well, according to our technology, at least they're not coming from inside the house," the dispatcher says.


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