Did you hear about that couple who went to a hotel and slept overnight over a dead girl’s body stuck in the bed’s box spring? How about the funhouse mummy that turned out to be a real corpse that had traveled here and there for decades? Do you know anything about the Red Room? Please don’t even Google it, or else…!!!
Urban Legends. Life just isn’t fun enough for people, right?
An urban legend, being a legend, is a kind of folklore. The difference from the regular legend, though, is it’s based on pop culture. In other words, it’s modern-day folklore. That’s where the “urban” comes from–to differentiate it from the age-old legends, not necessarily to say it just happens in urban places. The term was first recorded in 1968.
It is called by other names: urban myth, popular legend, contemporary legend, urban tale. But to tweak Shakespeare’s words, a legend, by any other name, would still be fiction. Well, mostly.
It is said that while urban legends may be a figment of people’s imagination, some of them are not exactly that totally made-up. They are based on supposedly real stories, passed on by people to other people until many start to believe them. And many of these urban legends are passed on through writings, including through media. In the age of the millennials, the reach of these tales has widened.
What is the purpose of urban fiction? It is…
“a modern story of obscure origin and with little or no supporting evidence that spreads spontaneously in varying forms and often has elements of humor, moralizing, or horror.” (Dictionary.com)
Often, the idea is to scare people, which Hollywood took advantage of. Films of popular and not-so-popular urban legends have been made. Films of supposed ones that weren’t really have also been made. Why, even a movie is entitled Urban Legend , leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that it’s meant to be suspenseful and scary. There was the film The Blair Witch Project that was fiction, inspired by various documentaries on paranormal phenomena. Ringu was specifically based on actual records of actual people also.
Fiction or not, urban legends are here to stay and even multiply. It is up to us to decide which is true, which is not, and if they actually matter.
Any urban legends you can share? The comments section is just below to serve you 🙂
This piece serves as my Letter U post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.
Truth? I had a hard time thinking of a topic for the U post that it took me days. I thought I’d just post my missing letters, but no, I wanted to do it forward. Then I encountered a few problems, but those, I will discuss in the reflections post once I am done.
For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.