Tuesday, April 24, 2018

U: Urban Legend

Image result for bigfoot

We've all heard the stories...a friend of a friend who found a mouse in a Coke bottle or saw Elvis at the mall. The urban legend is widely seen as a form of modern folklore--cautionary tales set in our contemporary times. They're usually funny or macabre or flat-out gross. They can be specific to a particular culture or location, or they can have wider relevance. Back in the day, they were often passed from one person to another via the age-old tradition of oral storytelling. When I was in sixth grade, our class spent a few nights up in the mountains for Eco-Week. I still remember hearing the story of Stumpy, the kid whose legs were burned off below the knees who supposedly roamed the woods around the cabins. It's kind of funny when I think about it now, but at the time, I was terrified.

Many urban legends revolve around creatures (Bigfoot, Chupacabra), aliens (Area 51, crop circles), our bodies (we only use 10% of our brains, swallowed gum doesn't digest for 7 years), sinister figures (Slender Man, clowns), and politics (too many to list here). These stories serve many of the same purposes as ancient myths and fairy tales: reinforcing social beliefs, expressing our fears, and/or providing an explanation for complicated, even illogical, events

In the age of the internet, urban legends can and do spread instantaneously. And perhaps that's the biggest cautionary tale of all.



6 comments:

  1. You mean it's not true that gum doesn't digest for 7 years? You are completely destroying my worldview with this post, Jenny. Next you're going to be telling me that the tooth fairy doesn't exist. Geesh! I was counting on a boost to my retirement income when I get old enough to need dentures.

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    1. Wait...the tooth fairy isn't real??

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  2. O, there are plenty of them. Good to a small nice write-up about it.

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    1. Yes and some of them are really quite believable!

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  3. Urban legends are fun! And there has been a lot of fiction inspired by them, such as the phantom hitchhiker who hitches a lift, then disappears from your car.

    And it’s ALWAYS a friend of a friend or a man I met in the pub who said it. If you experienced it yourself it isn’t an urban legend, is it? ;)

    Australia an Children’s Writers: V aid For...Voicing The Dead

    https://suebursztynski.blogspot.com.au/2018/04/a-to-z-blogging-challenge-2018-v-is-for.html

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    1. Love how you mentioned the vanishing hitchhiker without knowing that's what I had planned for V!

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