Don’t Look Back

On the foggy night of their senior costume party Nicole and her date Mark were driving to their school in Mark’s old 1987 Toyota. They heard a special news report “…warning everyone the convicted killer, Owen the HangMan Helms, has escaped from the near-by criminal asylum he was last seen in a woods by Pinecrest…”

Nicole started freaking out “That’s just on the other side of the valley! Mark turn the car around I want to go home” but just then the car bucked twice then died. An overhanging tree branch went THUNK… THUNK… THUNK… on the roof of the car and Nicole jumped. “It’s fine. I’m going to look for help” said Mark, “climb in the back and cover yourself up in that blanket. When I come back I’ll knock on the roof 3 times. If you hear more or less than 3 knocks DONT OPEN IT UP.”

Nicole tried to persuade him not to go but Mark said “What are we going to do? We can’t just sit here until someone drives by.” and so he left.

Nicole locked the car doors and climbed into the back seat and covered herself up in the blanket and waited. She looked at her watch 25 minutes had passed… 35… 40 then she heard a knock… “oh come on two more” knock… “yes! mark just one more” knock… “ok! stop no more mark please let that be you!” knock… “NO!” her blood turned ice cold knock… knock… knock… “please someone! please! someone help me!” she prayed she thought it might be the Hangman trying to torment her… did he know she was inside?

Then the knocking stopped. She could hear a radio, with a dispatcher’s voice giving instructions that she couldn’t make out. Two men were staring at her through the window. Nicole realized they were police, behind them she saw the spinning blue and red lights of the police car, “It’s ok young lady. You can come out now” said the 1st police officer.

Nicole’s shaking hand finally found the lock and she stumbled out. “Where’s Mark? Didn’t he come with you?” Nicole asked.

“Come to the patrol car. DONT LOOK BACK – just keep your eyes straight ahead” said the 2nd police officer.

“Why can’t I look back?” she asked.

“Just come on to the patrol car miss” said the police men.

Then Nicole looked behind her and saw Mark, still in his gray-jogging outfit, hanging from an overhead tree branch. One of his Nike shoes was gently hitting the roof of the car, knock… knock… knock…

Another Version

The story is the same up until he leaves the car. He tells his girlfriend to lock the doors and don’t open them until he taps on the roof three times. He leaves and she does what he says and was for him to come back.

About an hour goes by and she starts to get worried when she hears tapping on the roof. After three times she is about to open the door, but the tapping doesn’t stop. Confused and frightened she doesn’t open the door at all and sits in there for hours, the whole time hearing the tapping on the roof.

Finally the police arrived and a cop came to the car and told her to get out, to come with him and not to look back. Of course she does looks back to find her boyfriend hanging from a tree over the car. The wind caused the branch to rock making his feet tap the car over and over.

Another Version

Just outside of the city of Syracuse, NY there is a hamlet that was once shown on the map as Cedarvale, NY (sometimes you will still see it listed). The main road through this area is Cedarvale Road. Part of this road is very curvy, and in fact is called the 13 Curves which it actually has. Curve number 7 (either way) is called Dead Man’s Curve.

According to the local legend, many years ago (likely in the 20’s or 30’s) a newlywed couple was driving down this road, on their way to a friend’s house on Otisco Lake from their wedding they started to round Dead Man’s Curve, the car stalled. The new husband, being the chivalrous type, told his new bride to wait in the car while he walked on down the road to the local post office/general store to ask for help.

The Bride waited in the car and dozed off for a little bit. When she woke up, it was dark, and she could not figure out what woke her up. Then she heard a scratching on the roof of the car. She wanted to know what was scratching the roof, but was afraid to get out of the car alone at night. At some point, she managed to doze back off and was awakened in the morning by the police tapping on the window. They escorted her out of the car not saying much of anything, and while they were leading her away, she turned around to look back, and saw her husband, hanging by his neck by a rope over the limb of the tree they had parked under.

As the story goes, she had a complete breakdown at this point and spent the next few years in the local asylum, until she died, some say, of a broken heart and broken mind. A few years later, a local farmer driving through the area saw a woman standing on the side of the road at the seventh curve of the 13 curves. She was wearing a wedding dress. When he stopped to ask if she needed help, she just vanished. People report seeing the Woman in White on dead man’s curve to this very day.

Reader Submitted Urban Legend
Jas Burke from Atlanta GA
Maryam from Waukesha, WI
James Baleno from Syracuse, NY
Arun Shreenivas

The “Don’t Look Back” illustration is by Lisa Mazzuca and you can buy it on a T-Shirt HERE. Please don’t copy it unless you plan to link back to this page. Thanks!