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Friday, December 25, 2020

Decemystery (2020) 25: The Dancing Underpants


After the really insipid story of the Subway Man, I figured that we could cut loose with something truly nonsensical and light-hearted. In my search to find something silly, I encountered a story so eye-catching, so goofy, and so delightful, I could never ever pass it up. So come along, dear reader, it’s time to talk about the baffling, ridiculous, and rather short tale of the Dancing Underpants.

No, I’m not making that up.

The Story

This story comes to us from Weird N.J., a magazine dedicated to documenting quirky and enigmatic stories in the state of New Jersey, though I personally found the story from the ever so awesome ObscUrban Legend Wiki. The story centers on a man named R.E. Barker who was nine-years-old at the time of this story occurring. Exactly when this was and where in New Jersey, I don’t know. I can’t find that out, but I would hazard a guess and say it was the 1970’s or 1980’s. Don’t take my word on that though!

Anyways, you see, one day, Barker was playing with some kids at a nudist camp and wait a gosh dang minute, why was a nine-year-old at a nudist camp? That seems kinda strange on its own! Er, well, anyways, now the FBI is en route to my house for typing that sentence: Barker was dared to go to the barn because the barn had once been an apartment; the kids inexplicably liked to go to the stop of the staircase outside of it because kids are into that kind of thing.

Well, Barker was dared to go first and when he got there, he discovered that the barn’s door was locked. Undeterred by the mechanism known as a lock, he decided to look through a crack that was between the floor and the bottom of the door. It was there that he saw something that I can only describe as “one-hundred percent bruh.”

A pair of white Fruit-of-the-Loom style underpants dancing around in midair.

Naturally, Barker did what any sane, rational, and normal human being would do: he ran the heck away and didn’t think twice about it.

After that, the story ends. While not all of this information came from the ObscUrban Legend Wiki, it did link to its own primary source: Weird N.J., home to anything every weird in New Jersey (which is to say: the entire state is weird). Also, if you’re curious, the hyperlink will take you to Google Books as an FYI.

Given that this story was so short, I tried my best to find something else that would give me additional information. By that, I mean literally anything because it feels like this story is lacking in anything; maybe the location name, history to it, or a follow-up interview with Barker. Alas, in my attempts to try and find another source, all I was met with were endless sleazy results. As far as I can tell, Weird N.J. is the one and only source for this story. It begins and ends there. Pretty disappointing if I do say so myself.


1. It’s made up

For our first theory, we have the idea that it was made up.

Given that this story was a one-time haunting and the nature of it was, well, dancing underpants, some have naturally been highly skeptical. Also, like I said earlier, Weird N.J. is the only source for it. I can’t find any other place that has spoken of it besides some wikis that have taken it up (presumably from people who read Weird N.J.). So, there’s that.

2. It was a ghost

The second theory is that it was a ghost. I really don’t think there’s too much to say about this because it’s honestly far from the most exciting and exhilarating theory out there. It was a physical object being manipulated by an unseen force. Really not a whole lot to say other than, “sounds like a ghost.”

3. A hallucination

The third and final theory is from the ObsUrban Legend Wiki, which posited that it was a hallucination.

This is a very, very difficult theory to prove because I cannot diagnose Barker with anything that would trigger a hallucination. Heck, I don’t even know if the guy took a hallucinogenic (which if he did, that’s really dangerous for a nine-year-old). Though I don’t know why or how this would randomly happen. Unless Barker was exposed to something that could trigger one, I think this theory is really outlandish.

My Take

Ehh, I actually don’t really know where I stand on this story. On one hand, it seems ridiculous. On the other hand, it doesn’t really strike me as being anything terribly out of the realm of the paranormal. I’ve heard of some weird things happening with ghosts and the idea that a playful/mischievous spirit decided to make some underwear dance around isn’t exactly that crazy.

However, at the same time, I can’t really explain why this would be a one-time thing and wouldn’t happen again. So I guess if I had to pick, I would say that this story is more than likely not true. Though don’t hold me to that; I don’t think it’s the most implausible story out there—even if, on the surface, it sounds like something a 5-year-old would make up.

On one final note, I would like to say that it’s really disappointing that there aren’t more sites—even if they’re fringe ones—that cover stories like this. While it may seem really, really innocuous and just flat out silly, stories like this are, to me, the life bread of unsolved mysteries. Not everything has to be the big, grandiose thing like El Chupacabra or the Loch Ness Monster. Every now and then, I think it’s great to see a story like this or the Giant Shrimp in the Laundry Room. So come on guys, just take a moment to cut loose and cover something silly and light-hearted!


Someone put ants in the underpants and they danced all the way to France. See you all tonight! Hopefully. If not, have a wonderful and merry Christmas.

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