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Carmen Winstead is the titular central antagonist of an urban legend that originally derives from a chain letter titled "They Pushed Her" or "Carmen Winstead" that spread around various social media platforms since 2006. She is usually depicted as the vengeful ghost of a bullied high school student who drags her victims into sewers in their sleep, where she mutilates and kills them.
Carmen Winstead was only 17 years old when her family decided to move to the state of Indiana. Her father had lost his job and the only way to find employment was by relocating to a new state. Carmen struggled with the relocation as she had to leave many of her old friends behind and attend a completely new high school.
She enrolled into the new high school during the middle of the school year and none of the students had any interest in befriending the new student. Eventually, Carmen discovered a group of five girls and tried to join their group as she believed that they were her friends. It didn't take long until she noticed that the girls were actually spreading vile rumors behind her back the entire time. Carmen tried to confront them about their behavior but the girls ignored and mocked her pleas as the bullying became much worse.
After leaving her books in the classroom, Carmen discovered that someone had scribbled disparaging and vituperative words about her all over the pages with a Sharpie. On another day, Carmen noticed that someone else had poured yoghurt in the insides of her schoolbag and occasionally, she arrived to school to find out that someone had vandalized her locker. The final straw occurred when Carmen discovered that someone had stuffed dog feces in the pockets of her jacket. Carmen decided to stay back after school to tell her teacher about the bullying but unfortunately, her decision came too late to save her own life.
One afternoon after lunch ended, her teacher announced that there was a fire drill and when the fire drill alarm rung, Carmen and the other students filed outside in the school yard. Carmen's bullies seized the opportunity to embarrass her in front of the entire world by dragging her to stand near the edge of an open manhole. The bullies relentlessly nudged her and shoved her inside the manhole. When her teacher called out Carmen's name during the roll call, the bullies shouted "She's down the sewer!", inciting laughter amongst her other classmates.
The teacher later discovered that Carmen was lying at the bottom of the manhole motionless with her face covered with blood and her head twisted at an odd angle. Horrified, the teacher proceeded to call the emergency services and the police hauled her body out of the manhole and investigated her death in the morgue.
They came to a conclusion that whilst Carmen fell into the manhole, her head had hit against the ladder of the manhole which caused her face to be torn off and that she had snapped her neck when she landed at the bottom. The police questioned her classmates, including the bullies who told them that they had simply witness Carmen falling down by accident. They believed them and the case was closed where everyone thought this would be the last time they would hear Carmen's name.
Months later, Carmen's classmates began to receive strange chain letters titled They Pushed Her on their MySpace accounts which exposed the true nature of Carmen's death and warned that guilty people should take responsibility of their own crimes. One of the bullies who pushed Carmen into the manhole received the chain letter but she dismissed it and took a shower. She heard strange cackling laughter that came from the drain of the shower and she ran out of the bathroom completely shocked. The girl said goodbye to her mother that night and went to sleep.
After drifting to sleep, the girl woke up only to find herself lying in the middle of the same sewer Carmen was pushed into. Suddenly, she noticed that something was coming out from the darkness of the sewer and there, she saw the vengeful ghost of Carmen, covered with blood, crawling out. The girl was unable to move due to fear and Carmen soon crawled faster and faster towards her and this was when the girl's mother heard loud noises that resounded throughout the house about 5 hours later. The girl's mother called the police where they had discovered that her own daughter was lying in the same manhole where Carmen was thrown into, with her face torn off and her neck snapped.
The other bullies who were responsible for the death for Carmen met the same fate in the same manhole but Carmen's vengeful ghost was not at rest. More and more of her former classmates were found dead in the same fashion and it seemed that anyone who didn't believe Carmen was really pushed was killed by her ghost. One of her victims include a 16 year old boy named David Gregory who was dragged into the sewers in his sleep and had his face torn off and neck snapped by Carmen's vengeful ghost after he didn't believe in her story.
Rumor has told that Carmen's vengeful ghost is not at rest and that one can hear her cackling laughter coming out from the sink, drain or toilet. In order to survive, one must believe that Carmen was really pushed into the manhole and to forward the chain letter to someone else.
- The tragic character and death of Carmen Winstead was most likely inspired by Samara Morgan who, like Carmen, was thrown into a deep dark hole where her vengeful ghost continued to reside and killed anyone who failed to spread her message. Images of Samara are often used to depict the character of Carmen.
- There is no record of a person named Carmen Winstead dying in a similar fashion as described in the chain letter that exists.
- It is evident that the legend is completely fictional even if you remove the supernatural elements of the legend. Reasons include:
- Carmen supposedly decided to stay after school to tell her teacher about the bullying, but since she is said to have died that day she never would have gotten the chance to tell anyone, so how could the creator of the legend (the one claiming that the legend is real) know her intentions if no one knows about it? There is no mention of Carmen reporting the bullying to anyone in the legend and her vengeful ghost having actual communication with people in the living world other than sending the chain letter, which didn't elaborate on the events that led up to Carmen's death but rather described the nature of her death itself and the consequences of dismissing it.
- According to the legend, the bullies shoved Carmen in a manhole that was presumably located in the schoolyard. The nearest manhole would accurately be several meters out in the footpath, if not in the middle of a road.
- Most manholes are less than 1 meter in diameter and according to most variants of the legend, Carmen landed head first in the manhole after being shoved. She would have flipped upside down for this to occur and manholes are usually too narrow for that to happen, especially for a grown teenage girl.
- Her face was reportedly ripped off when her face hit the ladder. This blow would usually result in fractured bones rather than having her face entirely ripped off