Halloween is fast approaching, making it an ideal time to think about what is scary.
The things that cause fright have inspired creepy campfire stories, haunted house destinations and horror movies.
They have also inspired a number of lists that rank the top urban legend in every state across the country. Some states have one story that is consistently the most popular — and hair raising.
North Carolina’s Beast of Bladenboro, a vampire-like beast, was unanimously cited as its top urban legend.
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There was not universal sentiment in South Carolina, where three popular lists named three different scary stories as the Palmetto State’s creepiest urban legend.
South Carolina’s most popular urban legend, according to Thrillist, is the Boo Hag. While it sounds like something more likely to have been yelled at a person being prosecuted during the Salem Witch Trials, according to legend it is much more sinister.
Boo Hag’s are “skinless beings that creep into people’s homes in the Lowcountry, climb on their chests ... and gain vitality by sucking out (their) breath ... (and) have a nasty habit of tearing off a victim’s skin and wearing it to keep themselves warm,” according to Thrillist.
The Boo Hag comes from Gullah folklore, which has ties to voodoo, the Island Packet reported. It could leave its victim suffering in paralysis or dead.
According to the Gullah, a person would become a Boo Hag if they died and their soul does not go to heaven because of the bad things they have done, onlyinyourstate.com reported.
“Boo Hags are a little like vampires in that they are undead beings that feed off of living humans,” Scares and Haunts of Charleston reported. “They are skinless, and bright red in color, with bulging blue veins.”
The description of a Boo Hag is monstrous, much like another of S.C.’s most popular myths — the Lizard Man.
The Lizard Man has been described as “7 feet tall, with red eyes, skin like a lizard, snake-like scales and three pointed fingers on each paw,” according to The State, which reported it prefers attacking cars and truck fenders over humans.
According to Thought Catalog, Lizard Man is South Carolina’s most enduring urban legend.
The legend of the Lizard Man started in 1988, when the Sumter Item reported the monster attacked the car of a 16-year-old from Bishopville near Scape Ore Swamp, per The State. Since that time, numerous sightings have encouraged the production of Lizard Man paraphernalia and copycat sightings. The Lizard Man has never been captured.
Another S.C. myth that has reached urban legend proportions is the death of Julia Legare.
Julia Legare was the 22-year-old daughter of a wealthy Edisto Island family who fell ill, was pronounced dead and entombed in the family mausoleum in 1852, according to SC Picture Project.
“Years later, another member of the Legare family died, and when their tomb was opened up, the remains of Julia were found outside of her coffin,” according to Insider, which ranks her death as the top urban legend in S.C. “The story says that Julia had been in a coma, and had woken up to try and escape her tomb, but sadly died.”
What makes this sad story haunted is what happened after that discovery.
The door to the crypt would not stay shut, no matter what church elders did to seal it, per SC Picture Project, which said scratch marks were found on the open door — on the inside.
“The door was removed ... in an attempt to appease Julia’s spirit, which is said to haunt the crypt to this day,” Charleston City Paper reported.