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4 Terrifying Chinese Urban Legends

Every country has its own urban mythology, and China is no exception. They have been present as early as in forums on the Chinese Internet, and today on Baidu Tieba. We have some local versions but here are four terrifying urban legends that once created societal fear in China. 

1. The ‘Haunted’ Office Building in Shenzhen

According to rumors, vengeful, decades-old spirits stalk the halls of Zhongyin Building, located near the heart of Shenzhen. They are blamed for the failures of Zhongyin’s firms, which are considered to have an abnormally short lifetime. And, at least online, an extraterrestrial influence is blamed for the complex’s rock-bottom rent.

The spirits said to haunt Zhongyin trace back to the brutal days of China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, when the building’s location was purportedly utilized as an execution yard. 

Following the creation and quick expansion of Shenzhen, some developers have decided to capitalize on the cursed plot of land, employing an expert for advice on putting its spirits to rest. That’s how the office building got two pointed towers shaped like candles and covered in auspicious, rose-colored windows.

2. The Monstrous Intestine Worm

The Mongolian death worm is certainly one of China’s bizarre cryptids, rumored to reside in the stony and inhospitable Gobi Desert. This terrifying creature is said to be crimson in color, between two and five feet long, and as thick as a man’s arm. It should be noted that the most generally cited length is two to five feet, while other accounts claim that the species may reach far larger sizes.

This cryptid, often known as the ‘intestine worm’ due to its ridged, intestine-like appearance, is dreaded by locals due to its very lethal (or potentially acid-like) venom. According to the local legend, the death worm can spray its poison from a safe distance and the toxin is potent enough to kill a camel or horse.

Some said that the worm may even utilize electricity on unsuspecting bystanders. Several expeditions to discover the worm have been organized and some were videotaped for television, such as the famous mystery show Destination Truth in 2006-2007, but all have come up empty-handed.

3. The Unexplained Disappearance of 3,000 Chinese Troops 

People have long been terrified by unexplained disappearances. The most terrifying is when a large group of individuals seems to vanish into thin air, such as in the urban legend of the Nanjing troops. 

During the horrors of the Second Sino-Japanese War, over 3,000 troops stationed in the undulating hills around Nanjing are alleged to have vanished without a trace in 1939.

According to the legend, the event began in December 1937-1939 when Colonel Li Fu Sien stationed 2,988 men at Nanjing’s hills, a 3.2-kilometer region, to defend a Yangtze River bridge against an imminent Japanese onslaught. Colonel Li awakened the next morning to find his aide telling him that the soldiers at the defensive line were not responding to calls or signals. An investigating team was created, but upon arrival, they discovered the place utterly abandoned. There was no trace of a struggle: heavy weaponry remained in place, ready to be fired, but no one was present. Troops stationed at the bridge said that no one had passed throughout the night. They had no idea what had happened to the missing men.

4. The Last Bus to Beijing’s Fragrant Hills

On November 14, 1995, a young man boarded the final bus traveling to Beijing’s Fragrant Hills, situated in Haidian District, on a dark and perhaps rainy night. Two individuals attempted to flag down the route 302 bus shortly after the young man boarded it. The bus driver was originally hesitant to pick up the men since they were not waiting at a bus stop. However, once the conductor informed him that it was the last bus, the driver chose to pull over.

Passengers were startled to find the mystery roadside men wearing Qing Dynasty clothes. According to the account, the men’s faces were as white as snow, and they didn’t engage with any of the other passengers on the bus. The bus gradually began to empty until just an old woman and the young man were inside with the mystery trio.

Everything was peaceful until the old woman unexpectedly accused the young man of taking her wallet, which sparked a violent quarrel. When the old woman urged that the two get off the bus and go to the nearest police station, the argument was settled. The young man became upset with the old woman as he got off the vehicle, realizing he had just gotten off the final bus and there was no police station in sight. 

Fortunately for the young man, the old woman saw something he had overlooked: she stated that the three robed men lacked legs and must have been ghosts.

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