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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Decemystery (2020) 24: The Subway Man

Ah, let’s take a trip to “excuse me, but what is this?” land. Yes, we’re going on a happy, magical, wonderful journey to the land where the likes of “Is Lord of the Rings Based on a True Story?” resides in its castle made of sticks, stones, and Pauly Shore movies. Why? Well, today, we’re talking about a story about something called the Subway Man. This barely qualifies as a mystery, but it’s something so inexplicably nonsensical that I want to cover it. Also, I need a break because this month is beginning to make my mental health deteriorate. God, I love Decemystery.

The Story

This story can be found on the ObsUrban Legend Wiki and It’s Something Wiki. I will give the latter this: this story certainly is something. I just don’t think it’s what they wish it was.

Anyways: on October 1, 1990, a lady whose name I cannot find was going up an escalator in Penn Station, which is located in Manhattan in New York City in New York state. Boy, that’s a mouthful. Whatever, this lady noticed something most peculiar and bizarre: about 20 feet (or 6 meters) from her, there was a male who stood about 6’7” (or 2 meters) near the entrance to the subway station.

Okay, well, that isn’t anything exactly bizarre. However, according to this witness, the man looked like he was trying to “choose” one of the denizens of the Big Apple. His appearance, however, is a tad odd. Apparently, his face was either light grey or white. He had a thick brow, menacing eyes, broad shoulders, and his posture was kinda weird. He stood with his back arched, his elbows pointing towards his back, and his head was tilted downwards.

In other words, he was standing weirdly. Given how my posture is all sorts of weird, I can relate to this tall guy.

Well, anyways, our nameless lady supposedly caught a brief glimpse of this man’s face, but quickly turned away because it filled her with an incredibly large amount of fear. So, she just scurried on down the sidewalk to wherever she had to go and never looked back. According to the ObscUrban Legend Wiki, the woman thought that if she turned back, something would happen to her.

Speaking as someone who’s gone to New York City a lot in his life, I can neither confirm nor deny that this story is the norm. However, I can confirm that the number of weirdos that reside there is so great, it may as well become the world’s biggest ongoing circus. Though with that, the story ends.

Wait, what? That’s it?!

Ooooh no no no. You ain’t ending here just yet, story! Get back here!

You see, dear reader, after reading this story, I went on a search to find out where this story originated from. I went ahead and looked at the sources for the two aforementioned websites and…

They had none.

Yeah, freakin’ brilliant. The two places I can find information on this story and there is none. However, I wasn’t deterred! Far from it in fact. So come on, feel the noise, girls rock your—oh forget it, let’s go to Google.


There’s nothing. There’s seriously nothing. I sat here typing to Google with everything I could think of in relation to “Subway man Penn Station”, but all I’d get are stories about people being stabbed there or things under Grand Central.

There’s nothing! There’s seriously nothing about this story. Hang on, lemme try “Penn Station tall creepy man”.

Oh no, wait, that gives me a story about Amtrak Police tasing some dude.

Who the heck wrote this story!? Why is it a mystery? Wait, is that the mystery? Why did someone write about a tall guy standing as he presumably waited for someone so he could drive them home?

Gah, whatever. Let’s move onto the theories section.


1. It was just some dude

Our first theory is that the mysterious Subway Man was just a guy.

As BrokenEye3 said in the comments section on the ObsUrban Legend Wiki, it could have been a man with acromegaly (which basically causes excessive growth hormones; it enlarges you). It could have also possibly been a random Joe Schmo who was waiting for his brother, elderly mom, a friend, or a relative.

One thing to bear in mind is that there was nothing insidious or invidious about the man to the dozens of other passersby who were going in and out of Penn Station. It was this one person—which strikes me as odd. Given there was nothing else I could find on this story, I guess that lays this story to rest…

Except there are two other theories.

2. It was an alien

This theory and the next one are both from the ObscUrban Legend Wiki and this one is hysterical. At the start of the article, there’s a note that the “Subway Man” is similar to the Grinning Man—known to some as Indrid Cold.

Good old Indrid was a strange fellow who was seen around the time that Mothman was all the craze. He was a tall man who had a nice little grin. Some claimed he could communicate telepathically and in one case, he reportedly gave the name “Indrid Cold” as his name. Still, a fair number of people know him as The Grinning Man because it’s got a creepy feeling to it.

Now you see: the Grinning Man has since become a mystery in his own right. Many suspect that he was related to the Men in Black while others say he was an alien. Some skeptics think he was just some creepy dude who was watching people—perhaps pulling a prank because he was bored. Hey, if I could, I would happily go around doing things like this.

“It’s just a prank, bro! The camera’s over there!”

“Dude, you’ve been staring at my grandmother for six hours!”

Watch out, Jake and Logan Paul. I’mma become the new king prankster.

Ahem, anyways: the root of this theory comes from one very simple fact: the Grinning Man was said to be fairly tall and his skin complexion was grey-ish in tone. He was also said to give off a menacing vibe; then again, a perpetual grin would do that, no? Ah well, this theory really only has weight to it if you’re willing to believe that the Grinning Man is still out and about. As far as I’m aware, sightings of him ceased around the time Mothman sightings did.

Now yes, there are some who point to the Reddit story of the “Smiling Man” as proof that the Grinning Man is still out and about. However, the similarities for that story start and end at the individual in question not frowning. The Grinning Man simply grinned, he didn’t have a glasgow smile plastered on his face like he was trying to outdo a cartoon character’s best smile. So no, I wouldn’t put money on Indrid going around the United States like he’s Borat.

3. It was a demon

The third and final theory is that the Subway Man was a demon.

This theory stems from one simple factor: the woman felt a large amount of fear when she saw the supposed man. I cannot really find any other factors that would indicate that this man was, in fact, a demon. Everything points to him being mortal and given how the woman was tormented after seeing him (something one would expect from a demon given that they, you know, tend to latch onto someone to inflict pain), I’m inclined to believe that this theory is nonsensical.

My Take

I’ve been reading mysteries for the better part of my near 25 years on Earth and I’ve never seen a more innocuous and benign mystery on the face of the Earth. It was a guy standing near the entrance to the subway. Yeah, he was tall. Yeah, he likely looked kinda weird. Guess what? So do I. No one, as far as I know, has written a mystery about me looking creepy because I stood around in the mall waiting for someone to finish their bloody window shopping.

Oh, but maybe I’m not tall enough. Or maybe I’m not standing strangely enough. Ah, silly me. Next time I’m allowed out of the house without fear of dying from the Coronavirus, I’ll be sure to stand like I’ve got a tire iron lodged in my left kidney. That’ll really catch the attention of that one girl who I think looks cute!

Notice me, Catherine, you’re so pretty!

Oh wait, no it won’t. She’ll probably think it’s weird that I’ll be on the floor screaming in extreme agony—or at least, I’d be acting like it since I’d be thinking I have a tire iron in my frigging kidney.

Look, if you want the simplified version: it was some dude. There’s nothing here. It was a guy who was probably waiting for a friend or family member. Not everyone is going to be Mr. Handsome or Mr. Nonsuspect. If I were to make mysteries based on every weird looking guy and girl I’ve seen out in public, I could write a 1,000-page-long novel because New York is filled to the brim with quacks.

Now stop judging people based on their looks.


Have a glorious Christmas Eve to all. I will see you tomorrow with two stories!

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