, it's an urban legend
"No it's not! I know the guy it happened to! Or, well, actually, I know
his sister's boyfriend who used to live with this guy and his aunt told it
to him... or something like that..."
Urban legends. Don't you love 'em?
Where do these tales come from? Who decides "This would make a great
story! I'll email it to everyone I know!"? And what makes a
good urban legend to begin with?
Most urban legends are based on something vaguely true, as
sabre23t has said. In time, the story changes, morphs and mutates (not
to mention is exaggerated) into something huge, a story "everyone should
know so they can BEWARE!!", as seen in various email urban legends.
Many legends carry a warning to members of society, quite often women. An
A couple are making out in a car in the middle of the woods. They hear a
scritching on the top of the car and ignore it, continuing to make out.
It gets louder and louder, until finally the boy gets out to check what
the noise is, telling the girl to stay in the car. Hours later he's
still not back and the girl is scared to death as the scratching sound
hasn't stopped. As the sun rises cops pull up and order the girl to stay
in the car- threre's an ESCAPED MURDERER ON THE ROOF OF THE CAR! As the
police lead the murderer away they tell the girl that her boyfriend had
been killed; if the murderer had scratched through another inch he would
have gotten to her and KILLED HER TOO!
That story tells a powerful tale to young women: don't go out to the
woods with a boy. Indirectly, it tells of the dangers of pre-marital sex
and foolish girls.
Urban legends also warn of the dangers of buying/using foreign products.
Bananas imported from Mexico have killer insects and worms living under
the skin- you might eat them and THEY'LL HATCH IN YOUR STOMACH!
If you don't wash your hair or have dreadlocks spiders might make a nest
in your scalp , and you won't realise your headaches are caused by THE
SPIDERS BITING INTO YOUR HEAD ALL THE TIME!
Urban legends are also started by malicious rumourmongers who aim to ruin
the reputation of a certain business: remember the restaurant that served
a steak to a customer who got sick from it? She went to the hospital and
it was discovered the steak had SPERM ON IT, and that's what made her sick
(there are many things wrong with that story on so many levels). After
a few tellings, the evil story spread to a variety of restaurants and
According to the Urban Legend Research Centre, the people who tell urban
legends can be grouped into the following:
- Believers- those gullible people who actually send those annoying
emails to warn you of impending danger.
- Fence sitters- not too sure if the story is true or not, but it's
better to be safe than sorry...
- Substantiaters- offer "evidence", usually in the form of more
- Self-Promoters- "you'll be glad you listened to me when you follow
my advice. This happened to my friend..."
- Entertainers- don't care if it's true or not, it's a damn good
- Alarmists- these people are freaked out by society as a whole. It's
true for sure. Stranger things have happened. People are weird.
There are heaps of urban legends at urbanlegends.com, snopes.com and ulrc.com.au. But beware! Take heed of their messages and listen to the warnings
, or you'll be sorry