Over the past few months we’ve been examining some of the best stories in urban fantasy. We’ve reviewed some great books, movies and TV shows. They have all told fascinating – and oftentimes frightening – tales. But sometimes true legend is stranger – and more entertaining – than fiction. And the 50 states that make up the U.S.A. each have some amazing urban legends. So let’s take a look at some of them. Today we will begin in Alabama:
If you find yourself in Abbeville, Alabama you might not think much of this small town of fewer than 3,000 people. But, if you’ve got kids who are having trouble with curfews it might be the destination for you.
Located in southeastern Alabama, near the Georgia state line and not far north of the Florida panhandle, Abbeville is the birthplace of the urban legend of Huggin’ Molly.
While Molly’s origins likely lie with parents trying to get their kids back onto the straight and narrow. She will not kill, or even seriously injure, any wayward child that falls into her clutches. But when Molly finds a child out too late at night she will give them a tight squeeze and scream in their ear.
While no hard stats are available, one must admit that experience would scare anyone straight.
Hell’s Gate Bridge
Both child and adult would be scared straight if they were to attempt to cross Hell’s Gate Bridge near Oxford.
Located east of Birmingham, Oxford lays claim to a legend that dates back to the 1950s. Legend has it that a couple drowned after their car drove off the bridge. For decades, the story goes, on certain nights you could stop your car on the bridge and then turn around to look behind.
What you would see on those rare occasions was Hell itself.
But wait, this is a 2-for-the-price-of-1 urban legend. On other occasions, if you drove out about halfway across – presumably where the accident occurred – and turned off your lights the dead couple would appear in your car. There will even be a wet spot in the seat.
But if you are looking to test the legend for yourself you are in for a disappointment. The bridge has been closed to automobile traffic for years. The bridge is in such a state of disrepair that foot traffic is sternly discouraged.
Dead Children’s Playground
Huntsville’s Maple Hill Cemetery has a playground for a next-door neighbor. Dead Children’s Playground has certainly earned the nickname.
The playground was originally opened around 1985 to give children a place to play while the adults visited the gravesites within. But legend has it that the ghosts of children buried in Maple Hill, some as far back as 1822, use the playground at night.
Orbs of light sliding down slides, swings moving to and fro on their own on windless nights and giggling have been reported. Adding to the legend is the belief that some of those spirits are of children who were victims of a serial killer in the 1960s. Their bodies had been found in the same area where the playground now sits.
And if you think that would make a great urban-fantasy story, then let me introduce you to Jay Michael Wright II. His novel, Alabama Nightmares & Urban Legends, Vol. 2, includes an urban-fantasy story entitled, The Dead Children’s Playground, based on this very legend.
So Alabamans, have you experienced any of these legends? Have any others unique to your state that you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments. We’d love to hear about them.