Contemporary Legend – Woodhaven, New York

“I used to go to PS 97 elementary school in Woodhaven, NY. Every year, at the end of the year around June, um, the whole school or…yeah, the whole school would go on a picnic to Forest Park and uh all the kids would be playing around and some of them would just like to go off and explore different areas of the park. Apparently, uh, these kids went off to like a further side of the park where they’re really not supposed to be. And um, they saw like a mummy running around and um and then they like lost him or something and then they tried to go after him and found the bandages and somehow there were blood stains. At the time, I actually believed them because I was only in the third grade and especially when they were like ‘Yeah and we found a knife too’ and…it felt kinda scary. I didn’t actually see the evidence but I believed them. I got even more scared when talking to my friends at another elementary school about it later and they were like ‘Yeah! That happened to us too! There was some crazy mummy running in that park’ and I believed them too.”

It’s not surprising that Mandy believed the mummy story because multiple accounts often confirm one’s beliefs about a legend. Her fear of the mummy reflects the age group she belonged to because children are more willing to believe in supernatural stories than adults. When asked what her teachers thought of the incident, she said that they didn’t believe the kids and were a little angry that they had run off to an area of the park they weren’t supposed to and were making up pranks to scare their peers. In addition, forbidden areas often raise children’s curiosity and tempt them to investigate the “real reason” why the area is forbidden. For them, safety concerns are only a cover-up and there always has to be a hidden paranormal explanation. The pressure from different peers confirming the event, as well as supposedly physical evidence, invites discussions of belief and whether this mummy really exists or if it’s just a kid’s prank.