Tag Archives: knife

The Elevator Story

Main Piece/Story:

A young woman is returning home after a busy day of work at night. She managed to avoid the worst of the rain but she had to run a bit to get to her apartment. Slightly exhausted, and with even slighter foot pain, she pressed the button to call the elevator and waited around. The elevator doors opened, she stepped in, but before she could press her floor, she heard some fast-paced steps. “Hold the door!” rang out a young man’s voice and she pressed the button to allow the boy into the elevator. “Thank you so much”, he said, grateful.

“What floor are you on? I’ll get the button for you” said the man panting for breath.

“Oh, it’s the 10th, how kind of you” replied the girl.

“No way! I live on the 9th!” said the man, in a surprised tone.

The two engaged in short casual conversation, how work was killing her feet, etc. The girl noticed that the boy had some pretty looks to him and was teetering on the edge of asking if he was free anytime soon. She was puzzled at how she never met him before especially when they lived a floor apart. The elevator reached the 9th floor and the man stepped out.

“Goodbye!” said the man. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again…”

“…really soon”

As soon as he muttered those words, the man turned around. The pleasant and reserved visage now was grinning ear to ear with a wide, eerie smile, his eyes bloodshot. In his hands was a bloodied kitchen knife and he dashed up the stairs as the elevator doors closed.

Background:

My informant is my brother who told me this story when we lived in South Korea which was around 18 years ago and clearly it was effective in its fright factor if it stuck with me for this long despite my entire family not being particularly good with horror stories. He states that he read it online and was particularly spooked and began spreading the story around by himself.

Context:

My brother retold me the story for good measure during the time I asked him to share folk stories with me when I brought up how I remembered this one in particular because of how it frightened me when I was younger.

My Thoughts:

While not a memorate, the paranoia instilled by this story can affect any regular person who frequents the use of an elevator, as it has spread from my brother, to me, and hopefully to anyone reading. The greatest way to experience this story is through Korean message boards and blogs where people have drawn comics to illustrate this story and the final panels become animated to properly convey the shock factor. Unfortunately most of my access to these sort of sites are through my brother and I haven’t been able to find them. In this way, it would be difficult to assign any one person as the author to this story as someone who makes the scariest comic could become its sole owner just by being the one who owns the version of the comic that is most shared across the variations. Among other types of real life horror stories about dying in an steel cage of death called an elevator, I was convinced pretty early in my life that I was just way better off taking the stairs and get some exercise while doing so. It’s effective in the Asian apartment context as it is an incredibly common sight in South Korea so it works off its mundane set-up for something horrifying. The point of the story is to lull the readers into a false sense of security with superfluous little additions to the setting detail when really, the most important part is the end. I think there was a string of elevator murders in Japan around the early-mid 2000s, which is where the story might have originated.

Backseat Butcher Horror Story

Informant:

J, a 22-year-old, Caucasian male who grew up in San Francisco, California until he turned 16. He now lives in Boise, Idaho. He spent his summers at summer camp with his friends.

Background info:

During summer camps, counselors and children would sit around a fire-pit at night and tell stories. While some of these were positive, most of them would be told with the aim of scaring people. This is one of the stories told to Jacob during one of these sessions.

Context:

This was told among a group of friends sitting in a circle around a fire-pit late at night, slightly intoxicated, telling each other their favorite scary stories they heard as children.

Main piece:

“A young woman spent the night out on the town. As she decides to come home, she takes the back-roads to avoid having to stop at lights. That, and she can speed a bit haha…. It’s quite a far drive in the dark, so she decides to listen to music on the radio to stay awake. A few minutes into her drive, she notices a large truck driving up behind her. She slows down to let them pass, but the truck just drives directly behind, matching her speed…Nobody else is on the road and the truck flashes its high beams. No matter how fast she drives, or which turns she takes, the truck stays right behind her. Terrified, she speeds home and pulls into the driveway. The truck is still there… She considers locking her doors but opts to get out and run to her house. She opens her car door and starts to run. The driver gets out of his truck, as well, and aims a gun. Time seems to stop… She can feel her heart beating… *Thump*… *Thump*… *Thump*… Silence… *Bang*… The shot echoes in her ears as she looks down at her chest to inspect the wound. As her ears stop ringing, she hears a thud as a body falls out of her car, a butcher’s knife in hand…”

Thoughts:

Having someone follow you is a common trope in folklore that invokes fear in everyone. It rattles your nerves and using it in this story subverts expectations. The final part of the story utilized a lot of sound effects to make the listeners feel calm, despite being the crux of scariness. The ambiance of the environment in which it was told played into it with the cold, quiet, dark night with the flames casting shadows around us. It was obvious that some of the people in the circle were nervous of the shadows, thinking someone was behind them. It was interesting to hear that this was a campfire story told during summer camps due to it being set more in a cityscape. However, I think it works well in that setting because often back-roads had to be taken to get to/from the camps. There are many stories in which events happen in sets of three. This story utilizes it for the sound of the woman’s heartbeat. The sound effects that J used during the story really made it come alive, which is why I believe most recounts of live stories like this do not capture the actual experience of the story.