Urban Legends Investigated: The Expressionless
So, I’ve spent the last few weeks slightly obsessed with urban legends of the internet, CreepyPasta and the like. There’s just something about urban legends, you know? A hundred years ago, people told each other scary stories huddled around campfires. Now, we have to hear (or well, read) about our creepy stories through the internet. The principle is the same, just the medium has changed. Still, when you read these stories late at night, you’ll certainly end up with more than a few chills…
Today, I want to talk about a picture that looks pretty scary at first, with a matching creepy story added: The Expressionless.
The Expressionless: The Story
To the left is the picture usually associated with the story, and which the story is based on. Credit for the picture goes to the original photographer.
Anyway, the legend goes like this: in 1972, a woman who eerily resembled a mannequin showed up at a hospital in a blood-stained gown. While the woman had the dexerity and fluidity of a human being, her face looked as flawless (and eerie) as a mannequin’s. She had a kitten clamped into her mouth, so tight none of her teeth showed, and blood was still straming out of the poor animal. She then pulled it out of her mouth, tossed the poor creature aside, and collapsed.
The woman was then taken to an examination room, where she stayed completely calm and motionless. That was, until the staff tried to sedate her. Then, the woman/mannequin fought back with extreme force, yet still with that same, blank expression on her face. Then, eventually, the woman/mannequin turned to one of the doctors and her expression changed: she smiled.
The doctor screamed in shock, because in the woman’s mouth, rather than teeth, were long, sharp spikes. Too long for her mouth to fully close without causing any damage. Then, as security approached, the woman/mannequin attacked one of the doctors, and later on security, eventually fleeing from the hospital.
The story originally appeared on CreepyPasta.
The Expressionless: The Truth
Nowhere in the CreepyPasta does the author allege the story to be true, but still, some people have speculated on the story being true or not. Well, just by going over the text of the story alone, some of the details are already off-putting:
- Cedar Senai is an actual hospital, with its own Wikipedia page. No mention of this incident anywhere, though. If several people ended up dead, you would think someone would report it, at least.
- When she pulls the kitten out of her mouth (again, poor animal), someone should’ve been able to see the sharp spikes already, but that’s not the case.
Also, the picture often associated with the story is not at all what the story implies. In fact, the picture itself is labelled as “student nurses with waxworks patient”, and it was taken by Anthony Armstrong-Jones, the then Earl of Snowdon, in 1968. Lord Snowdon was an English photographer and fim maker, and the picture was published in his 1972 book, “Assignments”. The book is available from Amazon, albeit only in hardcover edition. On the Wikipedia page about Anthony Armstrong-Jones, the book is also listed under publications.
Back in the day, nurses often used waxwork dummies for training, and it was nothing out of the ordinary. It’s similar to the “Resusci Anne” figure used for training First Aid students in CPR techniques.
With the picture being debunked, the story is most likely fake as well (with about 99% certainty). Although, if you do happen to come across a woman resembling a mannequin with a waxworks face, maybe a) ask her to open up her mouth and b) if she has sharp spikes instead of teeth, start running. Or smash her in the head with whatever you can find, if you’re feeling particularly brave, and then start running.
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