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Urban Legends: Myths From Around The World

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     It’s that spooky time of year again; the leaves fall in beautiful colors, the crisp air wraps around you and everyone is swapping ghost stories or testing urban legends. Modern Halloween traditions are fun and scary, but they aren’t just exclusive to American culture. Urban legends haunt people everywhere because just like love and hate and all other feelings—fear is universal.

     Hawaii is a place of superstition, with native Hawaiians being strong believers in their history and mythology—it’s practically their religion. Therefore, almost all of their urban legends actively haunt the people to this day.

     Almost a decade ago, in Hawaii, a bus was driving on the Pali highway from the Windward side to the Leeward side when the bus came to a complete stop. Lopaka Kapanui, a story teller, reports that the bus driver starts screaming, shouting, yelling at everyone: “Who has the pork?!” According to ancient legends of Hawaii, the Windward side of the island belongs to Kamapua’a—the pig god—and the Leeward side belongs to Pele, commonly known as the goddess of fire. The two had a bad break up, causing them to flee to opposite sides of the of the island, agreeing to never see each other again. Nonetheless, if you bring pork over to the Leeward side, it symbolizes you smuggling Kamapua’a over. Sure enough, someone on the bus had pork and they quickly got rid of it. The bus started again, allowing the passengers to leave.

     Another famous urban legend from Hawaii is that of the Night Marchers. Night Marchers are the spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors that roam at night visiting battlefields or sacred sites. Legend has it that when you hear the sound of beating on drums accompanied by torches and the sound of a conch shell, you should run and hide. If you come across Night Marchers, you must strip and lie face down to show that you mean no disrespect. Making eye contact with these ancient warriors is a sign of contempt, which is punishable by death unless one of the marchers claims you as their blood.

     On September 18, 2016 at approximately 2:20 a.m. in Mexico City, there was a sighting of a ghostly figure of a woman with long hair in a white dress at a busy traffic intersection. It caused quite a stir on social media, for everyone thought it was the legendary Llorona or “weeping lady.” La Llorona dates back to circa 1515, when a ten year old Aztec girl was given to Mayan merchants for slavery. Six years later, she gave birth to two twin boys by Hernán Cortés. At that point, she was known as La Malinche. Cortés was seduced by another woman and was persuaded to go back to Spain with his twin boys. La Llorona ultimately decided to go with her boys before he could take them. Soldiers surrounded her before she could escape, which led her to stab both of the babies in the heart and throw them into the ocean. Up until her death and after, she is seen crying out for her children and allegedly taking some to a watery early grave. So, if I were you, I’d avoid any body of water at night.

     Speaking of water, there is a similar legend in Japan too: you’ll step to the beach and see a beautiful young lady drowning. However, it’s just a mere trap, and the snake lady devours you. A different story from Japan is one about a kid who caught the wrong one’s attention. Hachishakusama—also known as Eight Feet Tall in Japanese—is an urban legend about a woman who poses as relatives to kidnap and kill the children of Japan. According to the story, a kid was just playing around his grandparent’s backyard when he heard a distinct repeating sound—po. He looked around and all he saw was a straw hat moving on the fence. He saw her face and was confused as to how a woman could be so tall. He told his grandparents about this encounter and they were instantly put into a state of shock and fear. His grandpa left so that he could bring someone who knew what to do. Soon after, they organized a devout plan to get his grandson out of the country where Hachishakusama couldn’t get to him. Over a decade of not going back to Japan and seeing his grandparents—even missing his grandfather’s funeral—he got a call from his grandma saying she wants to see him and it should be safe. He wanted his grandma to confirm this statement, but all he heard after was the sounds he heard as a child—po po po po.

     Of course, as all verbal history is passed down from generation after generation, the stories shift, adapt, and develop into separate and substories. You may have heard differently, as has everyone, but the general idea is still the same. So, be wary with these urban legends, interact with the supernatural carefully, and on behalf of The Scroll, we hope you have a happy Halloween.

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