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Skinned Tom

Updated on March 29, 2012

Going Parking at Lover's Lane? Are you sure he/she isn't already married? You'd better ask DIRECTLY...or else Skinned Tom might find you and teach you a lesson.

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Radio Script adaptation of the Skinned Tom legend

Tom Was A Handsome Guy

(Warning *Graphic details may bother some people)

Here's how the story goes:

Tom was young and attractive. He liked the ladies and the ladies liked him, too. He dated a lot, and once he'd dated the best picks from his own hometown, he 'went looking' in the next best place - the next town. He didn't have to look long, and began dating a sweetheart, though she had a secret she should have told Tom.

She was already married.

To and fro, back and forth from town to town he went almost daily, carrying on a heated romance with his newest sweetheart. It wasn't long, however, until the woman's husband chanced upon some small town gossip and learned what everyone else seemed to know well ahead of him - that his wife was being bedded by a young attractive Tom from out of town.

The husband wasted no time in enacting a plan to catch up with Tom. At the soonest opportunity, he told his wife that his job would place him out of town for the weekend. Nothing seemed amiss and his wife accepted his notification without question. The husband departed from the house on Friday, parked his vehicle elsewhere and doubled back on foot to hide in the woods behind the house for a while until evening.

Sure enough, early in the evening, Tom showed up, picked up his sweetheart to take her out to a Lovers Lane and do what lovers do. Just as things were warmed up, with Tom and sweetheart hot and heavy for each other in Tom's car, the car door was wrenched violently open!

Tom found himself face to face with a huge, terribly angry, knife-weilding fellow!

"Ohno - It's my husband!" Tom's sweetheart cried.

"That's right, you cheating *%$*!!!" her husband yelled, "And I'll teach you a lesson you'll never forget, too!" He pulled her off Tom, clear of the car, and rammed the blade of his hunting knife into her stomach, then flung her aside.

Sneering like a madman, the husband turned back to Tom, who blurted "No - don't hurt me - I swear I didn't know she was married!"

This revelation didn't pull any effect whatsover on the madman husband, and he dragged Tom from the car and skinned him alive with the hunting knife.

Immediately afterward, the husband left Tom for dead, drove himself to the authorities and turned himself in.

Only by a miracle, once the police arrived at the crime scene, they found that the wife was seriously wounded but still alive. Police searched the area diligently but Tom was nowhere to be found near or at the crime scene.

Tom was never found, period.

Some say Tom lives in the woods around Lovers Lane, hiding his disfigurements where his once handsome features stood out. He still carries the hunting knife - the very one used by the angry, revenge-exacting husband, which took the skin off of Tom. Some say he uses that knife to teach others the same lesson he learned on the day he was skinned.

The Story Told Again: Skinned Tom

There only seems to be one version

For some reason, this urban legend only seems to have one basic version and no traceable spin-off versions. I've been looking all over the net for years and asking storytellers anywhere I can - to find out if they know a different variation and have come up empty-handed.

Perhaps the graphic nature of this legend is enough for people to leave it very well alone... imagine the pain a person would go through having his skin removed! The idea of this will make pretty much anyone cringe.

A few other things a little different about this urban legend versus other legends is that this one contains very specific roles and transgressions of societal (some argue, legal as well) rules. Also, this legend projects consequences onto what might be an innocent character, which usually doesn't happen too often in urban legends containing specific moral prescriptive.

  • Roles: a wife, a husband, a new boyfriend
  • Rules/Law: monogamy/fidelity
  • Innocence: because a main line in the story is the new boyfriend claiming, "I didn't know she was married," it is very possibly true.

Other legends can incorporate a few different character sorts into the roles but the Skinned Tom legend contains a definite husband, a definite wife and a definite new boyfriend (Tom).

For example, in the hook legend, although the roles are definitely in place for a girlfriend and a boyfriend - these could be any female and male. With the Skinned Tom legend, I've never heard it told with a girlfriend and boyfriend who have agreed upon a monogamous pairing and where the female breaks that agreement. For this latter legend, it can't just be any random boy and girl - in fact - the characters are also ADULTS, not just two teens messing around with dating activities.

In the Skinned Tom roles, in the telling of why Skinned Tom gets skinned in the first place, it is because of not only a societal transgression by the wife but a personal one, too - the breaking of intimate marriage-related rules by Tom and the wife. The new boyfriend gets in between both the societal rule and the intimate marriage promise-to-be-faithful, and even though the wife has been dishonest, it is the new boyfriend who receives the worst punishment for breaking rules.

Women and Men Stereotypes

The Skinned Tom urban legend seems to promote the ideas that women control people and situations through underhandedness and men use brute force to control people and situations.

Basically, the woman/wife in the legend is manipulative and the husband/male in the legend is violent.

Is this legend an attempt to entrench the above idea into society? That women only have control through manipulations and that men are simply violent?


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    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Yes, Alastar Packer, I think we're meant to understand that ALL of Tom's skin was peeled off... yeaouch

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Good Hub MB, how bad was Tom-catter skinned.All the way? Messin with married is bad news an I got lucky finding this out at 16. Your right, this is a perfect one for the boy scout campfire.

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Despite how ridiculous the story sounds, a lot of people still find it scary.

    • profile image

      Victoria Fear 6 years ago

      suuuure a dude skinned alive would live after his inturnal organs have been exposed to non-sanitazed air. whatever, the dude wouldn't have lived long after he'd been skinned alive.

    • KenWu profile image

      KenWu 7 years ago from Malaysia

      At least this never tells how people were getting skinned by Tom.

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Hello saddlerider1, thanks for reading and commenting. Your former teen friend's case sounds like "truth stranger than fiction" and more horrifying than most urban legends!

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 7 years ago

      It reminds me of the movie Predator. Those soldiers were skinned alive to hang from the jungle trees. You don't want to #@%# with another man's wife or be confronting an alien worrior:0)

      I knew a teen I grew up with, he walked in on his sister in bed with another man of a different race and color. He told the man to leave the bedroom and get the $%#@ out if he wanted to live. He then took a hammer to his sister and crushed her skull in a bloodly violent death.

      He was put in jail for second degree murder and served 20 years, he was 37 when he got out. Acts of passion are common, so beware men and ladies who cheat on your spouses or even your boy/girl friends:0(

      Interesting story Myth, scary and spooky for sure.

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      saleheensblog, it has been most boring to me because I am not finding alternate versions of this legend. Most urban legends have a number of alternate tales but this one seems to be with set archetypes, scenario, action.

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Yes, ghostgirl - scary sh*t, indeed! Glad you were affected by the hub. Come back and post if you hear anything about Skinned Tom, eh?

    • profile image

      xxghostgirlxx 7 years ago

      Wow, I wonder what he looked like when he was skinned til he died.Scary, i bet he's out for revenge now.Scary shit!

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 8 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Yep - pretty spooky to think about! A fun story to scare people with around the campfire!

    • profile image

      sol71 8 years ago

      scary shit!