Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Bandage Man of Cannon Beach

On the roads outside of Cannon Beach, Oregon, and especially an old, now bypassed, section of Highway 101, a strange and disturbing creature stalks the night. Drivers have long reported seeing a man, clad from head-to-toe in bandages stained with blood and other less identifiable fluids. Those who have come close enough report that the ersatz mummy smells horribly, as if he is rotting. And those who slow down, or who are unlucky enough to be walking when the creature comes out towards the road, have been savagely attacked. Sometimes it is claimed that the bandage man can simply appear in passing vehicles, without any obvious entry. Oddly, the bandage man is also said to eat dogs. Sometimes the bandage man leaves behind bits of putrescent bandages that fell off during attacks.

Stories of the origins of this being are variable, some holding that this is the ghost or re-animated corpse of a logger who had been severely injured in a sawmill, and died while in bandages. Others hold that this is a vengeful spirit of no earthly origin. Whatever the story, the bandage man is said to be violent, malevolent, and to be avoided.

Commentary: Now that I am back home after seven months on a time-consuming project for work, Halloween seems like a great day to begin posting stories on this blog.

This is a beautiful urban legend, complete with claims of physical evidence left behind (the bandages are often said to mark the scenes of his attacks, much like the hook left behind by a serial killer in one popular urban legend. The story is pretty damn creepy (although the part about eating dogs, while probably intended to be horrifying, simply sounds rather silly), and as someone who has driven on California's forested coastal highways late at night, I can attest that it is easy to let one's imagination run away and start seeing all manner of evil creature out of the corner of your eyes. In addition, the presence of a specific location allows legend tripping for the youth of the Cannon Beach area. It is also delightful to note that one of the sources listed below even contains a "friend-of-a-friend" story that fits the urban legend perfectly.

What is somewhat unique is that, as far as I have been able to determine, the bandage man is a one-of-a-kind, location-specific urban legend. Although elements of the story are common in many wide-spread urban legends, I have not been able to find anything quite like the bandage man anywhere outside of Cannon Beach, Oregon. And that makes this a story worth remembering.

Sources: Published Book, Internet, Internet, Internet