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Florida's Five Greatest Urban Legends: From Love Bugs to Skunk Apes

Florida is known for being, let's say, somewhat off. Lots of weird going on here -- unexplainable things. Hard to explain phenomena like giant rattlesnakes (true), bath salt zombies (not true), and LeBron James' skill set (very, very true).

Of course a state such as ours, a state that ranks up there with California, Texas, and New York for serving as a playground for the most serial killers ever, has produced a plethora of urban legends over the years, from the "butt spider" to the skunk ape. Welcome to Florida, y'all!

Read on to learn more about mutant insects, giant sewer rats, and hidden corpses.

Florida's Five Greatest Urban Legends: From Love Bugs to Skunk Apes

5. The Butt Spider, aka the Two Striped Telamonia

This tale has been around a long while and has several variations. It all started as highly sarcastic email spam, blaming the "butt spider" for the deaths of several Florida women. Why "butt" spider, per se? This craft arachnoid lurked under toilet seats and would crawl out to bite women on the butt. Perhaps, "lesbian butt spider" would have been better.

Either way, the original email message has been tweaked over the years in order to give it some weight, so if you receive an email warning you about the Two Striped Telamonia, don't freak out.

Florida's Five Greatest Urban Legends: From Love Bugs to Skunk Apes
via Google CC

4. Florida Love Bugs

You know that time of every year when the air seems literally infested with pesky little bugs? They exasperatingly fly into your nose and mouth, and make your car look like Mothra puked all over it. Meet the "Love Bug", Florida's most annoying resident (after Janet Reno).

According to legend, these annoying creatures were created in a lab as a means to stem the mosquito population. Legend has it that scientists were intent on creating an infertile female insect that would mate with mosquitos, and accidentally produced a male as well. The bugs escaped the facility and reproduced at an alarming rate, making our lives hell and ruining our cars' paint jobs. Key indicator that this is false: How the hell did an infertile bug reproduce in the first place? People are dumb.

Florida's Five Greatest Urban Legends: From Love Bugs to Skunk Apes
via Google CC

3. The Mexican Pet

Probably one of our favorite Florida urban legends, the tale of the Mexican Pet is just believable enough -- if you're not actually from Miami. This is the story white Midwesterners use to scare others out of visiting Florida.

The legend goes that a white American family was visiting Florida and fell in love with a cuddly critter. They bought the "pet"; some versions say the family thought it was a Chihuahua, and others say they just thought it was a generic "Mexican" dog. When the family got home, their new pet ate the family cat. Not surprisingly, the family was concerned and took Fido to the vet, where they were informed, after a series of blood tests, that they had purchased not a dog, but a giant sewer rat. No quiero Taco Bell.

Florida's Five Greatest Urban Legends: From Love Bugs to Skunk Apes
via Flickr Tirch

2. The Skunk Ape

Let's be clear about something. As floridaskunkape.com tells us, the Florida skunk ape is neither skunk nor ape, but derived that name due to being a hairy beast that secretes a nasty odor. Sounds like Uncle Julio to me, but whatevs.

Two giant bonuses: The 'anal scent glands' section and the silver commemorative skunk ape coins - both highly recommended reading at the link above.

Florida's Five Greatest Urban Legends: From Love Bugs to Skunk Apes
via Flickr violetz_85

1. The Body Under The Bed

We saved this for last because, unlike the others on the list, this one is actually true -- several times over. Of course there are some variations, but legend has it that a young couple checks into a Florida motel for a good night's sleep, but can't seem to get any due to a horrific odor in the room. After complaining incessantly, hotel staff investigates only to find a woman's corpse under the bed.

This has happened. Multiple times.

Bienvenidos a Miami!

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