Simply put, urban legends are modern folktales. Passed on initially by word of mouth and nearly always second or third hand - "A friend of a friend told me"! Very often they are anecdotes that have a surprise climax, sometimes amusing and sometimes pointing towards a moral or a truth.
Most of these tales turn out to be just invention. They sound quite plausible enough in the telling and are therefore spread more quickly. Frequently, they appear as add-ons to spectacular events in the news.
Several sprang up in the aftermath of the September 11th. Twin Towers tragedy in New York - "The face of the Devil was seen in the smoke!", "One man escaped by abseiling down the building as it collapsed!" and so on. Stories are then built around the supposed incident to add substance and authenticity and there you have an urban legend in the making.
A good tale well told with recognisable locations added in can very easily be accepted as being true. Ghost stories often fall into this category. People tend to be naturally superstitious and all too ready to believe a storyteller who insists that his tale is true because, "My uncle or grandmother said it happened to them!". After all, he wouldn't lie about that - would he?!
There are a couple of good books full of these stories,
one of the world's leading experts on the subject
and author of the best selling
Of course, the internet itself is one of the best places to find 'URBAN LEGENDS'. Here are two of the better
sites that you might like to check out..but come right back!!!.... we've got loads more to tell you...
CREATING YOUR OWN COLLECTION
You can of course create your own collection of these tales by studying newspapers and magazines - unusual stories appear everyday in the press.
In addition to the big news items of political goings-on, bank rate fluctuations and the latest sporting news; there are lots of other 'human' stories of personal bravery and eccentricity. Local newspapers are full of such tales. Readers Digest and similar publications often carry stories and amusing anecdotes that you can add to your collection.
Here is a story that we picked up in 2001 in the Manchester edition of "The
Daily Mail" (A UK National Newspaper). We think it qualifies and could become a
Here's another story we discoverd over twenty years ago