“Pretty Penny: The American Slit-Mouth Woman”
Ohio can be a frightening place, with scary legends jumping out from around nearly every dark rural corner. Some though remain extremely obscure, and deserve perhaps a second look. In a true case of east meets west I give you Pretty Penny, America’s own Slit Mouth Woman.
In Wooster, Ohio there lived a ten year old girl named Penny who was a local legend for her beauty pageant accomplishments. Her parents loved her, as did her community; her life and future were as bright as the smile she flashed for the judges. That is until her babysitter came along. The family business had begun booming, and work hours had been getting longer for her parents, with the extra money available, they hired Tabitha, a 30 year old babysitter with great credentials. Penny would be in capable hands, and still be able to pursue her own dreams with the extra help. Tabitha herself had been a mother once, but alas her child had been born deformed and passed before the age of one due to medical complications, supposedly her child was so deformed that no pictures would develop when taken.
It was in this tragedy that another was born. Tabitha became increasingly resentful toward the family for the beauty and success of Penny. As Tabitha began spiraling into a rage fueled madness, Penny became more and more a target of Tabitha’s abuses, which ultimately led to Penny’s tragic death in September of 2008. It is said that Penny was savvy enough to know that she would need proof of the abuses she suffered and hid a small camera in a stuffed bear in her room. This bear it should be noted, can be seen in photographs before the tragedy, but none after. Rumor has it that if one could find the bear, and expose the proof recorded that day in September; Penny’s spirit could be laid to rest.
It’s said that Tabitha snapped when Penny won yet another pageant. Once home Tabitha exploded and chased the child into her room with a pair of scissors, ranting “I’ll cut that pretty face ear to ear! Will you be pretty then!?” Penny locked herself into her room but Tabitha’s adrenalized strength allowed her to bust the door in. Tabitha grabbed the frightened girl by the hair and smashed her face into the glass of her prized mirror that had been adorned with ribbons. The mirror had done Tabitha’s work for her, cutting and disfiguring the girl’s face into a grotesque bloody smile. As Penny lay bleeding to death Tabitha arranged the room to look as if a terrible accident had occurred, one she would say was brought on by Penny’s own temper.
The rumors say that Tabitha was never heard from again after it was finally ruled an accident. It is this reason Penny’s spirit does not rest and her legend was born. Part Bloody Mary and part Slit-Mouth Woman, the legend persisted on its own bloody merits and goes a little like this.
If you stand in front of a mirror and repeat the name “Pretty Penny” three times she will appear, if you are a babysitter she will strike you dead, if you are not she will possess and use your body until it’s so disfigured and rotted that it can no longer stand in order to hunt down Tabitha and exact her revenge. When you encounter her on the street as she wanders, she will ask you “Am I pretty?” if you respond “Yes.” She will lower the mask she wears, exposing her disfigurement. “Am I still pretty?” She will ask. If you reply “Yes.” She will cut your face into a horrible smile and leave you to bleed to death, a pageant ribbon pinned to your shirt. If you reply, “No” She will attack you with rusty scissors will not give up until you are dead or are able to destroy her body. If you happen to evade her or distract her with candies as some say, she will continue to hunt you and is said to be quite cunning, and often sneaky.
While the legend of “Pretty Penny” is an obscure one, she should be no less feared as sightings of various women have been recorded and reported wandering the streets, a mask covering their face, scissors in hand. It is usually shortly after one of these sightings that someone comes up missing, dead, or found on the street, a smile carved in their face, with a ribbon pinned to their shirt.