Robert Odell, Jr. likes to explore and examine the many mysteries of our world and universe.
A myth, tale, or urban legend is a story circulated as real. The stories often deal with events that have happened to friends or family members and can be funny, scary, or just plain mysterious. The tales are mainly circulated orally and remain mostly unchanged after being passed down from generation to generation. My family anecdotes have been passed down for decades; however, they are not myths. Here are two of my family's real, verifiable, mysterious, and fun to share urban legends.
Urban Legend 1, A Strange Wind
It was a typical Saturday morning in the country. The clear, blue sky accented the yellow beams of sunlight that slipped through the treetops. A little dog was running to and fro in the yard, sniffing around and exploring as usual. The children who lived in the house on the land were playing, breathing the fresh air, and enjoying each other's company. It was a time to delight in being a child.
Suddenly the little dog became terrified and frantic. The little creature was looking up in the sky and was quivering and shaking. The dog was so scared that it urinated on itself. The dog saw something, and whatever it saw frightened the living daylights out of it. The children looked up and saw nothing, but they heard a mighty wind blowing. The wind was the type that would typically bring a torrent of rain and thunder, but there was no rain and no thunder. There was only sunshine.
The children then witnessed the fury of a ferocious wind as it snapped through the treetops. It was not a tornado. There was no dark sky or funnel cloud, only sunshine. On its path to the nearby forest, the strange wind ferociously decapitated the tops of every tree that stood in its way. Then it suddenly stopped with no sound of a crash or screeching halt. There was just silence.
Years later, the family members who stayed a walking distance from where the wind came through had a strange encounter. It was also a beautiful day full of fresh country air and sunshine. Upon leaving the house, everyone was shocked at what they saw. A perfectly round circle had been burned into the grass surrounding the house. The house sat unharmed and unscathed, right in the middle it.
Many family members and other residents began to see peculiar lights flying around the area. The objects did not look or sound like regular airplanes. Whenever those objects appeared, helicopters from a nearby military base would also show up.
They Sure Could Fly
One starry night a member of the family was enjoying the comfort of the front porch. Without warning, some kind of flying machine swooped down and shot through the trees. The object maneuvered with pinpoint accuracy and did not hit a single tree limb or break a single branch as it catapulted through the trees. In an exclamation of amazement, the family member said, "Whoever was flying that thing, sure could fly!"
Urban Legend 2, You Can Have My Toys
It was the early nineteen hundreds. The U.S. economy was fast recovering from World War I. The approach of the "Roaring Twenties" heralded prosperity for many Americans but for farmers and black Americans, it was a time of modest income and borderline poverty. Mr. and Mrs. Wallace lived in a reasonably nice neighborhood. They were an African American family with six children, four girls, and two boys, ranging from 12 to 4 years in age. Like most children, the Wallace children loved to play. They had toys but nothing fancy. Some of the toys were handmade or passed down from other relatives.
There was a graveyard not far from where the Wallace family lived. During that time, most public spaces, even cemeteries, were separated by racialized laws and social customs. The white citizens that used the cemetery were often well to do people. That situation was evident the day the family witnessed the funeral of a little white girl. Everything about the procession that day was elaborate. The cars, the way the people dressed, the flowers, and the headstone were all wealth indicators. What stood out the most were the toys.
Dearly Departed Child
Obviously, the dearly departed was a child in the same age group as the Wallace children. That was evident because of the toys. The gravesite was not only adorned with flowers, but with toys. The beautifully dressed dolls indicated that the deceased was a girl. It seemed that the child's parents had placed every precious gift the child owned on her grave. The Wallace children stared with jaw-dropping amazement as they witnessed the unveiling of so many toys. They were staring at what any child in their wildest dreams would want; good quality, eye-catching, fun to play with, toys.
After the funeral and the procession slowly rolled away and disappeared, the Wallace children were left with a serious concern. What if it rains? Won't all of those beautiful toys get ruined? Why did they leave them out like that anyway? The children felt that the hot and cold weather would indeed cause those lovely toys to decay. There was only one thing for the children to do: rescue all of those toys. The children walked to the gravesite, got the toys, and took them home. Once at home, the fun began. There were enough toys for all six children. The girls had dolls, the boys had bouncing balls, and all was well. One day, in the middle of playtime, the oldest child looked out of the window and saw something strange.
Who is that?
The oldest child, a girl, looked out of the window and saw someone looking at the house. It was a little white girl, and she was intently watching them as they played in a room that had the window curtains open. The oldest exclaimed, "Hey, I didn't know some white people lived this close to us." The other children rushed to the window and said, almost in unison, "Who is that?" One of the girls inquired, "What's your name? Do you live around here?" The attractively dressed little caucasian girl said nothing. She just stood and looked intently at the children as they peered through the window at her. Then suddenly, the little anglo girl turned around and ran away. The children were astonished to see the little girl run toward the graveyard. She ran directly into the cemetery and disappeared from their view.
The Reaction of Mom
The children were more amazed than fearful. They told there mom what they saw, and Mrs. Wallace had an unusual response. Mrs. Wallace said that it was probably the little white girl who was buried in the cemetery. She was just wondering where her toys went. The thrill of having new toys was more potent than the fear of a graveyard dwelling, little white girl. The Wallace children continued to have fun and play with the confiscated toys. A few days later, the children looked out of the window and saw the little white girl again. She just stood there looking at the Wallace kids as they played by the window with the curtains open. The oldest child took the initiative and shouted to the girl, "Shoo, get away from here! You're not getting these toys!" The other siblings followed suit with, "Yeah, these toys belong to us now! You can't have them! Shoo, go away!"
The Reaction of Dad
Eventually, Mr. Wallace got wind of the escapades with the little graveyard white girl. Mr. Wallace wisely surmised that the little girl wanted to make sure that some good children got the toys and were happy with them. She was just wanting you all to know that you could have the toys, he said. It seemed that Mr. Wallace was right. The little white girl showed up only a few more times. The last time they saw the little caucasian girl, without hearing a word, the Wallace children felt the little white girl say, "You can have my toys."
The above urban legends only scratch the surface of the tales my family has passed down through the years. The story entitled A Stronge Wind took place on my maternal grandparents' property. It involved my mother, her sisters, and my cousins. The short entitled You Can Have My Toys involves my great grandparents on my mother's side. The children in the narrative are my grandmother (who is the oldest child) and her siblings.
I used a little poetic license for descriptive purposes. However, the legends are true, real, and basically unchanged after years of oral communication.
© 2020 Robert Odell Jr
Robert Odell Jr (author) from Memphis, Tennessee on October 01, 2020:
I appreciate your comments. Thank you for reading the article.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 01, 2020:
These stories are treasures, having been passed on by family members and about family members. They also make good reads. Thanks for sharing.