Urban Legend: What happens when you give Lil' Red the ax?

On my favorite comic strip ("No Rest For The Wicked"; It's online so don't bother searching the Newspapers for it) one of the characters is Red, the grown-up version of Little Red-Cap (You'll know her frilly Disney version, Little Red Riding Hood). My favorite thing about her is that she is so traumatized by the incident with the wolf that she goes around with an ax kicking the butt of any thing even remotely harmful that gets in her way. She's AWESOME!

Once I thought about it, the whole Red and Little Red-Cap faery tale reminded me of the urban legend:

The Hairy Armed Hitchhiker
Many variants of this urban legend exist, and the origins of it go all the way back to the days of horse and carriage. One Early American or Early English variant even goes to the length of a cabby who simply discovers a "female" passenger of his has 5 o'clock shadow. He pretends his hat has fallen and asks the "lady" to help him find it. When she gets out he closes her door and drives off. He only later discovers a pair of huge, bloody shears that had his name on them. Anyway, here it is. My version of the urban legend (with commentary in Italics)

A teenage girl leaves the mall, arms full with purchases. She is elated, having gotten that mall-buzz that girls get, and is mentally preparing for the lecture from her father for maxing out nearly all her credit cards...
Ah, happy youth.
...when a rather huge old woman approaches her, asking...
Wolf: Where all you going little Red?
Red: Grandma's.
...for a ride. The woman explains that she got turned around in the mall and sadly missed the next bus to her granddaughter's.
Is it me or did the last reader rip out a page of this fairy tale book so that we've suddenly been transported to the part when Lil' Red gets to Grandma's?
The teenager, realizing the woman is late for her granddaughter's birthday, and thinking the old lady is harmless enough, allows her to get in. As she opens the door she catches a glimpse of the lady's arms as the lady puts her rather large purse on the floor: The lady's arms are muscular and HAIRY!
Red: Grandma, what big eyes you have!
Scared, the girl begins to drive the call out of the night-darkened parking-lot, when she sees the lady reach into her purse. The girl puts on the brakes and says, "Oh my, I think my tail lights are, like, broken. Can you go check them while I flash them to see if they're all right?" As the lady gets out, the girl secretly calls the cops, and hangs up. She hopes the cops will expect danger and come to the rescue.
Red: Grandma, what big ears you have!
As the girl begins flashing her lights and she sees cop lights approaching, she locks the doors and speeds across the road, attracting the cops.
Red: Grandma, what big TEETH you have!!!
Wolf: The better to EAT you wi-... Hey, what're you doing with that ax?
She tells the cops to grab the old lady as she explains her story. She remmembers the lady's purse and opens it up. Inside are rope and a machete.
And the wolf was arrested punished.

For another version from Discovery Channel:


Urban Legends

How many of you have ever heard the word "urban legend". No, not the movie series but the name of those scary or funny stories you heard as a kid, a teenager, and even as an adult (if you are one yet).
Urban legends are stories meant to be true, that have supposedly happened to a friend of a friend (a person you indirectly know through tales and reports from friends or family). The most famous of these stories are: The Alligators in the Sewers, The Maniac on the Roof (Also known as The Boyfriend's Death), and The Babysitter (which I will inform you of now).

The Babysitter (An Urban Legend)

If you don't recognize this title of the stories, maybe you'll better remember it by the titles The Phycho Upstairs or When A Stranger Calls. In 1970-something a movie came out based on not only this campfire legend but also the last title I told you about. This movie, When A Stranger Calls, is one of my favorites, and it can be skillfully divided into thirds: One third, The Babysitter, is a chilling dramatization of the urban legend. The second third, The Killer, is about Duncan Cox, the murderer who kept threatening the babysitter via the phone, and his adventures after breaking out of prison, chased by a dedicated police officer named John Clifford. The last third, The Stalking, focuses on the babysitter, Jill, who is now middle-aged and has a husband and kids. Duncan is stalking her again, and in a blood-curdling climax, Duncan is shot by Clifford while attempting to strangle Jill.
All in all, this thriller movie is awesome, and, being old and having bad special effects, can be enjoyed by anyone. Its not so great remake, made in 2004, deletes the second and last thirds, only focusing on the urban legend. This is why I, and most likely many others, absolutely hate the remake.
Now, since I've kept you all waiting, I'll tell you my version of the urban legend:
A teenage girl named Jill (yes, I'm naming her after When A Stranger Calls) gets a call one day asking if she can babysit the two adorable children of Doctor Mandrakis and his wife. The teenage girl accepts, and arrives safely that night. The Doctor, of course, lives in a mansion with two floors, an attic, and maybe even a basement. The parents leave for their dinner party, and after a dinner with the kids, she sends them upstairs to brush their teeth and tuck them in. After hearing some suspicious thuds in the attic, Jill dismisses them as wind or a draft blowing around a box. She goes downstairs to spend some thoutful time (as in 3 seconds) doing her homework, and then heads to the living room in front of the stairs to watch TV and talk on the phone. You can imagine the philisophical conversations: "And then she, like, totally, like, said, like -- OMG! There's another call coming in! Hold on!" The incoming call seems to be nothing but mysterious weezing until right before Jill hangs up, a sinister voice cackles over the line "Check the children". Jill, wondering what to do, goes upstairs and peeks through the door at the children, who are still asleep. She goes downstairs again, just to get another call from the man, this time demandingly saying, "How were the children? Check them again." The girl hangs up, thinking its a prank. But after a minute the phone rings again. Its the same man, this time a bit angry. He says, "Have you checked the children?" He repeats this over and over until Jill hangs up. This time Jill is scared. She dials 911, and the operator answers asking what the problem is. Jill tells them about the seemingly threatening calls she's been recieving and asked what can they do to help her. The operator responds, "Listen, I'm sorry but we can't do much for you. I'll send a policeman to stay with you if you want, and meanwhile I'll trace the call the next time he calls. But when he calls, don't hang up. If it sounds like he's going to hang up, try to keep him on." Jill answers the phone hurriedly the next time it rings. It's the man. He's angry, "Why haven't you checked the children?!!" Jill screams, "What do you want?" The man, seeming to have calmed down, says, "Check the children, Jill." Jill is now frightened. Closing all the blinds and curtains and making sure all the doors are locked, she says, "How... do you know... my name?" No response. Jill is beginning to cry, "Stop it! Okay!" A thought enters her head, "Are you watching me, you creep?" The man answers with a slow and steady, "Yes." Jill can't bear it. She hangs up. Instantly the phone rings. Jill crawls to the floor in front of the couch and hesitatingly answers. It's the operator, frantically saying, "Jill, please listen! The policemen we sent are outside waiting. I've informed them of what's happening. LEAVE THE HOUSE! Don't go upstairs for the kids! Don't go to the kitchen or any other room! Just head for the nearest door and go outside to the police!" Jill widens her eyes, "Why?" The operator answers sadly "Because... he's calling from inside the house." Jill turns and looks around, just to see a light come on upstairs. She hears a faint CLICK! on the phone. She sees the light cast the shadow of a man with an ax and a coil of rope. To Jill's fright, the shadow shows the the man is headed for the stairs, and that the closest door is locked, bolted, and right next to the staircase. Frantic, Jill runs to the front door, dropping the phone on the couch, and hurries to unbolt and unlock the front door. By the time it's open, the killer is already headed down the stairs, slowly and menacingly, the psychotic gaze from his eyes constantly headed to Jill. Jill bolts out the door and screams as she feels something grab her...
just to find that she is in the arms of the sherrif, who is trying to calm her down as tears begin to gush from her eyes and her head spins round trying to gather her surroundings. As the tears stop, she sees policemen dragging the psycho, an escaped mental patient, into the police car as the doctor and his wife jump out of their car, having just arrived home. The doctor runs up to Jill and sits next to her asking what happened. She tells him, and his wife hears the news. Everyone is expecting the worst of the doctor's children who had been upstairs: a 4-year-old boy and his 6-year-old sister. All of a sudden, Jill gets up and walks into the house, tapping everything she touched there, angry and scared of what will happen next. She walks upstairs to see if she can help the policemen find the children, when lo and behold, who should meet her on the staircase but the two frightened children, running into her arms and sobbing, "Who was that man? Where's mommy and daddy?"
For those of you who would like an explanatio of events, it's simple once you think about it: The thuds from the attic had been the psycho breaking in, looking for a place to hide. Going downstairs and finding the children, he got a plan. He hid in their room with a phone in his hand and kept calling the babysitter, hoping she would follow his instructions and upon checking the children, would enter their room to actually check them in their beds. When she did so he would tie her up and make her watch as he killed the two little tykes and then killed her. When she went upstairs but only peeked through the door, he was forced to actually tie and gag the children and put them in the closet, and lay in wait for her to hopefully again come upstairs. When she got more and more scared he got suspicious that she had called the cops, and he listened in on one of her phone calls, just to learn his suspicians were true. Hanging up the phone he menacingly left the children to go downstairs and kill the babysitter first, but did not expect police to barge in, grab him, and later find the children and untie them.
In my version, the kids were lucky they had a truly gruesome fo who would delight in making Jill watch them die, instead of just killing them on the spot. In the original When A Stranger Calls movie, the plot is very like mine except they use the more famous version in which the kids die before the killer even begins calling Jill. In the remake, though, the director or producer used telekinesis to find my version, tweek it, and use it for their film. Stupid Hollywood.



Hello peoples. If you know my brother from reading his blog, The Legend Letters (which I suspect is unlikely), I suspect no need to explain. If not, let me introduce myself. I'm Jake Dailes. Hi. This is my blog all about classic folklore and mythology. Read on.