Horror media and urban legends have a bit of a symbiotic relationship. Some truly classic films have been based on urban legends, and some movies are so scary that they develop their own mythology. And, in their own way, urban legends are simply bits of word-of-mouth horror literature. Bloody Mary didn’t need to be immortalized via a copypasta or a movie to be such a terrifying tale.
Many urban legends are passed from generation to generation and place to place – stories that we somehow all know despite there being no clear origin. But then there are those urban legends that are strongly connected to a certain location. These scary stories pay homage to local phenomena and miscellanea… and they can be pretty creepy. Every city and state has its own urban legends, but Texas might have some of the freakiest. Let’s take a look.
Texas Urban Legends: Chupacabra
Why not kick off our review of Texas urban legends with a classic? Okay, if we’re being truthful, the chupacabra isn’t specific to the Lone Star state. The Chupacabra is generally associated with Latin America, but its first documented sightings are from Puerto Rico. This raises some interesting geographical queries as to how precisely the Chupacabra migrated from Puerto Rico to Texas, but hey, that’s a discussion for another day. (Don’t ask me how the Chupacabra wound up in Russia, either.)
Regardless, the Chupacabra maintains a pretty impressive presence in Texas. In fact, some have even begun to think the myth originated there. It’s easy to see why: there are multiple sightings throughout the state, a Texas resident named Phylis Canion even claims to be in possession of a stuffed chupacabra carcass, and recent video footage suggests the Chupacabra may still be lurking around near Amarillo. (The experts point towards it being a coyote, but who needs experts?) Whether it began as one or not, the Chupacabra is a certified Texas urban legend at this point.
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The Texan Chupacabra maintains the same characteristics that the beast is known for around the world. It’s a critter somewhere between a wolf and an alien with long claws and an insatiable thirst for blood. It trolls farms at night searching for livestock to drain the blood of. Depending on which Texas urban legend you’re engaging with, it either walks on four feet like a dog or on its hind legs – either way, creepy stuff.
Texas Scary Legend: The Candy Lady
One of the Texas urban legends that is at the very least somewhat based in reality, the Candy Lady is a dark one. The story begins with Clara and Leonard Crane, a couple in the late 1800s in Terrell, Texas. They were living a picturesque life (or at least as picturesque as rural Texas in the 1800s was) until tragedy struck. Their daughter, Marcella, died when she was just five years old. Allegedly, Clara suspected her husband of being responsible for Marcella’s death; within a few years, Leonard was dead. Clara was the main suspect, and she was sent to what was known then as the North Texas Lunatic Asylum as punishment.
If the legend is to be trusted, Clara was released from the asylum in 1899. Then, a few years later, children in the area began to disappear… along with the local sheriff. Many of these deaths are said to be linked to candy wrappers bearing the signature of the Candy Lady – a detail that is extra concerning when paired with Clara’s supposed use of poisoned caramels in murdering her husband.
Seeing as this took place more than a century ago, the story now states that the Candy Lady is a ghost that still enacts her vendetta in Terrell by luring children with sweets. Like all great urban legends, including Texas ones, this one is just believable enough to work – though it’s not exactly easy to find verification that Clara Crane ever, you know, actually lived.
Texas Urban Legends: The Light of Saratoga
If ever there was to be some freaky stuff going down in the United States, the Big Thicket would be a likely spot. An area of thick wilderness with blurry borders, the Big Thicket is truly untamed.
It’s home to extreme biodiversity thanks to a lack of development over the years, and it remains a haven for those seeking true solitude. In other words, it feels like the kind of place where an episode of the X-Files might occur.
The remote, thickly-wooded area has given birth to multiple Texas urban legends. The most compelling, though, is certainly the Light of Saratoga. Also known as the Bragg Lights, this legend refers to mysterious lights that have been routinely observed on a Big Thicket road outside of Kountze, Texas.
The prevailing explanation is that it is the lantern of a ghostly (and headless) miner.
Naturally, the skeptics provide plenty – you guessed it – skepticism. They claim that the Bragg Lights are simply headlights of distant cars. Those who see the phenomenon, however, maintain that it is just one light, not two. Others still are certain that it must be swamp gas. Sigh… when will the skeptics learn?
Photo by Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández on Unsplash
Last Updated on March 6, 2023.