Body in the Bed
The legend of the “Body in the Bed” has been retold over and over again for years. It is a very popular story, usually taking place at a hotel or motel in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, or in a remote location in the desert nearby (“Strange Smells from the Hotel Bed”). Various “spin-offs” and variations to the legend have arisen since its inception, believed to be in the early 1990s. Many examples supporting the legend have come to the surface over time. They provide a possible explanation to the origin of the legend. The version I collected was told to me by my girlfriend, on March 29th. She has been fascinated by urban legends since as far back as she can remember. Although she recounted several legends to me, I chose this particular one because it was my favorite. Before retelling the legend, she told me that I could easily find this story online. However, I told her that I would prefer if she retold it in the manner she first heard it. Her version of the legend goes as follows:
A man traveling on a business trip arrived at a motel, checked in, and proceeded to his room. Once he got in, he became aware that the room had a very foul smell, practically unbearable. He called the desk clerk asking for another room, but there were none available. The desk clerk sent over a maid to clean the room and try to get the smell out while the man went to dinner. When he returned, he didn’t smell the foul smell. He showered, settled in, and went to bed. After some time, the man awoke to the horrible smell again. It was too late to call the desk clerk, so he began looking around, trying to figure out where the smell came from. He searched everywhere, but found that the smell was strongest around the bed. Finally, he decided to lift the mattress from the box springs and when he did, he discovered the body of a prostitute that had been dead for days.
As I was listening to the legend, I made sure to pay particular attention to the way in which the storyteller was getting the story across. She used several common techniques in story telling that help to give the story more credibility, and in the case of this legend, make it a bit scarier. To begin, her voice changed dramatically during this process. She went from a regular tone of voice to almost a dull whisper. Her eye slits became narrow and almost closed, giving her a spooky appearance. She emphasized many of the endings of words and her face appeared to cringe every time she uttered the word “smell.” Toward the end of the legend, it was almost as if I could smell that horrid stench coming from under the bed. At the part in which the main character goes through the room attempting to identify the location of the smell, she began sniffing around my dorm. This action startled me a bit, but was very effective in providing me with an image of the character’s actions at this particular point in time. Since the story was being told in my room, she stopped sniffing when...