Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On the Lights?
College campuses have been known to be popular breeding grounds for rumors. Ask any college student walking around a typical campus for the latest gossip, and they may flood you with more stories, quips, and anecdotes than you may have ever asked for. Some of these stories lead to codes and rules for living safely on campus, as urban legends about campus-related murders and crimes begin to circulate more frequently. In addition, these stories may deal with some supernatural elements. With the increased security alerts nationwide, caution is exercised in all circumstances and a bit of the anxiety and security alerts have spread to American colleges as well.
One of these urban legends deals with what happened to “two girls at some college.” A college student from University of Maryland, Baltimore County recites his tale about the murder of a young girl at an unnamed college. The storyteller is twenty, and currently lives in Rockville, Maryland. A Chinese-American student, he is majoring in the mechanical engineering field and “considers [himself] to be a normal guy.” Both his parents work in the restaurant industry. He told me the following story in a face-to-face interview:
I heard this from my friend about two girls at some college. I think they were like freshmen or something. But they lived together, I think in a dorm room together and one of them left the room, and the other one was sleeping. The girl who left, had left their door unlocked, and the lights off, and when she came back from the party she went straight to sleep in the dark. (Thinks to himself.) When she woke up, her friend was murdered and there was blood everywhere. I think later on they said that they could hear screams during the rest of the semester when the lights were turned off, or there was screaming sounds in the hallways, something like that. (Laughs.)
A further look into similar accounts of this story yielded few results. An internet site called “Urban Legends & Superstitions” tells a tale that sounds similar to our story. The site relates a story about two girls named Mary and Jane. The girls were roommates and “complete opposites,” and Mary was the name of the girl who left to go to a party. Jane left the door unlocked so that Mary did not have to carry her keys; when Mary stopped back later that night to get her keys again, the room was dark and the door was still unlocked. She didn’t bother to check the room by turning on the light, and left again. When she returned the following morning, Jane was found murdered and her blood was painted on the walls with the message reading “Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn On the Light,” the story’s title. The Web site also includes a few notes about the story’s variations. One version modifies the ending so that the police have arrived before Mary at the scene of the crime and are reluctant to let her step inside. Another version takes place at a...