The babysitter story is truly an unforgettable urban legend, often told at slumber parties. The tale has different variations but the spooky and downright terrifying elements remain the same.
As the story goes, a teenage girl is hired by a young couple to baby-sit their two small children. They go out to a dinner party and leave the girl to tend to the kids in a somewhat isolated, large house at the end of the block.
When the hour gets late, she puts the children to bed and sits down to watch some late-night TV. The phone starts ringing and startles the half-asleep teenager. When she answers it, she hears heavy breathing and a man tells her he is “coming to get her.” While she is somewhat scared, she dismisses it as a prank phone call.
About 15 minutes later, the phone rings again. When she answers it, the man starts laughing and tells her that he is closer. The baby sitter is truly frightened now and calls the police.
They tell her that it’s probably just a prank phone call, but they will try to trace the call — so she must keep him on the line as long as possible if he calls another time. She once again settles down on the couch, not sleepy at all.
The phone rings a third time and the man tells her he has come for her and it’s only a matter of time. He continues with some heavy breathing until the babysitter is so terrified that she hangs up the phone again.
She quickly decides to get the children and flee the house when the phone rings again. This time it is a policeman on the other end and he tells her frantically “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW!” THE MAN IS INSIDE THE HOUSE AND IS CALLING FROM THE UPSTAIRS EXTENSION!”
She runs from the house as the police arrive. The madman escapes but they find the children upstairs dead and a bloody axe laying on the bedroom floor next to an open window.
Note: The baby-sitter urban legend is as old as the hills. In this story, the man is always calling from the “upstairs extension,” but it’s unlikely that he would be able ring the phone from an extension. In most instances, he would have to be calling from a separate phone line upstairs.
Notice how the perpetrator gets away, leaving him “on the loose” to prey on other innocent teenage girls? It makes for some great storytelling, particularly when the crime is not solved.
Watch the 1979 movie “When a Stranger Calls” and the 1993 sequel “When a Stranger Calls Back” to see how this legend evolved into film. Want to see something newer? Released on February 3, 2006 is a remake of the former movie, also titled “When a Stranger Calls.”