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An urban legend or contemporary legend is a genre of
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psycholog ...

folklore
comprising stories circulated as true, especially as having happened to a "friend of a friend" or family member, often with horrifying or
humor Humour (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World ...

humor
ous elements. These legends can be entertaining, but often concern mysterious peril or troubling events, such as disappearances and strange objects. They may also be confirmation of moral standards, or reflect prejudices, or be a way to make sense of societal anxieties. Urban legends are most often circulated orally, but can be spread by any media, including newspapers, mobile news apps,
e-mail upThe email_address.html"_;"title="at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address">at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address Electronic_mail_(email_or_e-mail)_is_a_method_of_exchanging_messages_("mail")_between_people_using_electronic_dev ...

e-mail
, and
social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

social media
. Some urban legends have passed through the years with only minor changes to suit regional variations.


Origin and structure

The term "urban legend", as used by folklorists, has appeared in print since at least 1968, when it was used by
Richard DorsonRichard Mercer Dorson (March 12, 1916 – September 11, 1981) was an American folklorist, professor, and director of the Folklore Institute at Indiana University Indiana University (IU) is a university system, system of public university, public ...
.
Jan Harold Brunvand Jan Harold Brunvand (born March 23, 1933) is a retired American folklorist, researcher, writer, public speaker, and professor emeritus of English at the University of Utah The University of Utah (U of U, UofU, or simply The U) is a public ...
, professor of English at the
University of Utah The University of Utah (U of U, UofU, or simply The U) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization (such ...

University of Utah
, introduced the term to the general public in a series of popular books published beginning in 1981. Brunvand used his collection of legends, '' The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends & Their Meanings'' (1981) to make two points: first, that
legend A legend is a genre of folklore that consists of a narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, documentary, Travel literature, tra ...

legend
s and
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psycholog ...

folklore
do not occur exclusively in so-called primitive or traditional societies, and second, that one could learn much about urban and modern culture by studying such tales. Many urban legends are framed as complete stories with
plot Plot or Plotting may refer to: Art, media and entertainment * Plot (narrative), the story of a piece of fiction Music * The Plot (album), ''The Plot'' (album), a 1976 album by jazz trumpeter Enrico Rava * The Plot (band), a band formed in 2003 O ...
and
characters Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * Character (novel), ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch novel by Ferdinand Bordewijk * Characters (Theophrastus), ''Characters'' (Theophrastus), a classical Greek set of char ...
. The compelling appeal of a typical urban legend is its elements of mystery,
horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic books focusing on h ...
, fear, or humor. Often they serve as
cautionary tale A cautionary tale is a tale told in folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as ...
s. Some urban legends are morality tales that depict someone, usually a child, acting in a disagreeable manner, only to wind up in trouble, hurt, or dead. Urban legends will often try to invoke a feeling of
disgust Disgust ( Middle French: ''desgouster'', from Latin language, Latin ''gustus'', "taste") is an emotional response of rejection or revulsion to something potentially contagious or something considered offensive, distasteful, or unpleasant. In '' ...

disgust
in the reader which tends to make these stories more memorable and potent. Elements of
shock value Shock value is the potential of an image, text, action, or other form of communication, such as a public execution, to provoke a reaction of sharp disgust, acute stress reaction, shock, anger, fear, or similar negative emotions. In advertising Sh ...
can be found in almost every form of urban legend and are partially what makes these tales so impactful. An urban legend may include elements of the
supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by such beings, including , , , , and . Th ...

supernatural
or
paranormal Paranormal events are purported phenomena described in popular culture, Folk culture, folk, and other non-scientific bodies of knowledge, whose existence within these contexts is described as beyond the scope of normal scientific understandin ...
. Many of the most well known tales will try to balance out the normal with the paranormal.


Propagation and belief

As Jan Brunvand points out, antecedent legends including some of the motifs, themes and symbolism of the urtexts can readily be identified. Cases that ''may'' have been at least partially inspired by real events include "The Death Car" (traced by
Richard DorsonRichard Mercer Dorson (March 12, 1916 – September 11, 1981) was an American folklorist, professor, and director of the Folklore Institute at Indiana University Indiana University (IU) is a university system, system of public university, public ...
to
Michigan Michigan () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Michigan
,
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
); "the Solid Cement Cadillac" and the possible origin of " The Hook" in the 1946 series of
Lovers' Lane A lovers' lane is a secluded area where people kiss, Making out, make out, or engage in Human sexual activity, sexual activity. These areas range from parking lots in secluded rural areas to places with extraordinary views of a cityscape or other f ...
murders Murder is the unlawful killing of another human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture ...
in
Texarkana, Texas Texarkana is a city in Bowie County, Texas, United States, located in the Ark-La-Tex region. Located approximately from Dallas, Texarkana is a twin cities, twin city with neighboring Texarkana, Arkansas. The population of the Texas city was 36, ...
, United States. The urban legend that
Coca-Cola Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated Carbonation is the chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically, chemical A chemical sub ...

Coca-Cola
developed the drink
Fanta Fanta is a brand of fruit-flavored carbonated soft drinks created by The Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola Deutschland under the leadership of German businessman Max Keith. There are more than 150 flavors worldwide. Fanta originated in Germany as a ...
to sell in
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
without public backlash originated as the actual tale of German
Max Keith Max Keith (born c. 1903 , pronounced "kite") was a German businessman who was the head of Coca-Cola Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated Carbonation is the chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical t ...
, who invented the drink and ran Coca-Cola's operations in Germany during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. The teller of an urban legend may claim it happened to a friend (or to a
friend of a friend In sociology, a friend of a friend is a human contact that exists because of a mutual friend. Person C is a friend of a friend of person A when there is a person B that is a friend of both A and C. Thus the human relation "friend of a friend" is ...
), which serves to personalize, authenticate and enhance the power of the narrativeBrunvand, p. 423 and distances the teller. Many urban legends depict horrific crimes, contaminated foods, or other situations that would potentially affect many people. Anyone believing such stories might feel compelled to warn loved ones. On occasion, news organizations, school officials and even police departments have issued warnings concerning the latest threat. According to the "Lights Out"
rumor A rumor (American English), or rumour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences; derived from Latin:rumorem - noise), is "a tall tale of explanations of events circulating from person ...
, street-gang members would drive without headlights until a compassionate motorist responded with the traditional flashing of headlights, whereupon a prospective new gang-member would have to murder the citizen as a requirement of
initiation Initiation is a rite of passage marking entrance or acceptance into a group or society. It could also be a formal admission to adulthood in a community or one of its formal components. In an extended sense it can also signify a transformation in ...

initiation
. A fax retelling this legend received at the
Nassau County, Florida Nassau County is the First Coast, northeasternmost County (United States), county of the U.S. state of Florida. According to the 2010 United States Census, the county's population was 73,314. The United States Census Bureau, Census Bureau estima ...
, fire department was forwarded to police, and from there to all city departments. The Minister of Defence for Canada was taken in by it also; he forwarded an urgent security warning to all
Ontario ("Loyal she began, loyal she remains") , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , cap ...

Ontario
Members of Parliament. Urban legends typically include common elements: the tale is retold on behalf of the original witness or participant; dire warnings are often given for those who might not heed the advice or lesson contained therein (a typical element of many e-mail
phishing Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent (e.g., spoofed, fake, or otherwise deceptive) message designed to trick a human victim into revealing sensitive information Information sensitivity is the control ...

phishing
scams); and the tale is often touted as "something a friend told me", the friend being identified by first name only or not identified at all. Such legends seem to be believable and even provocative, as some readers are led in turn to pass them on, including on social media platforms that instantly reach millions worldwide. Many are essentially extended
joke A joke is a display of humour Humour (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English) or humor (American English) is the tendency of experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoris ...
s, told as if they were true events. Persistent urban legends do often maintain a degree of plausibility, as in the story a
serial killer A serial killer is typically a person who murders three or more people,A serial killer is most commonly defined as a person who kills three or more people for psychological gratification; reliable sources over the years agree. See, for example: ...
deliberately hiding in the back seat of a car. Another such example since the 1970s has been the recurring rumor that the
Procter & Gamble The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) is an American multinational consumer goods A final goods or consumer goods is a commodity that is used by the consumer to satisfy current wants or needs, unlike intermediate goods which is utilized to produ ...
Company was associated with Satan-worshippers because of details within its nineteenth-century trademark. The legend interrupted the company's business to the point that it stopped using the trademark.


Relation to mythology

The earliest term by which these narratives were known, "urban belief tales", highlights what was then thought of as a key property: their tellers regarded the stories as true accounts, and the device of the FOAF (acronym for "Friend of a Friend" invented by English writer and folklorist
Rodney Dale Rodney A.M. Dale (1933-2020) was an English author, editor, publisher, and a co-founder and former member of Cambridge Consultants, Cambridge Consultants Ltd. He wrote principally on non-fiction topics (biography, technology, computing, jazz, i ...

Rodney Dale
in 1976) was a spurious but significant effort at authentication. The coinage leads in turn to the terms "FOAFlore" and "FOAFtale". While at least one classic legend, the "Death Car", has been shown to have some basis in fact, folklorists have an interest in debunking those narratives only to the degree that establishing non-factuality warrants the assumption that there must be some other reason why the tales are told, re-told and believed.Adam Brooke Davis
Davis, Adam Brooke. "Devil's Night and Hallowe'en: The Linked Fates of Two Folk Festivals." ''Missouri Folklore Society Journal'' XXIV (2002) 69–82
As in the case of
myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...
, the narratives are believed because they construct and reinforce the
worldview upright=1.8, Religious practices will tie closely to a religion's worldview. A worldview or world-view is the fundamental cognitive Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thoug ...

worldview
of the group within which they are told, or "because they provide us with coherent and convincing explanations of complex events". Social scientists have started to draw on urban legends in order to help explain complex socio-psychological beliefs, such as attitudes to
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a State (polity), state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, defi ...

crime
,
childcare Child care, otherwise known as day care, is the care and supervision of a child or multiple children at a time, whose ages range from two weeks to twenty years. Child care is a broad topic that covers a wide spectrum of professionals, institutions ...
,
fast food Fast food is a type of Mass production, mass-produced food designed for commercial resale and with a strong priority placed on "speed of service" versus other relevant factors involved in food science, culinary science. Fast food was created a ...

fast food
,
SUVs A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive. There is no commonly agreed-upon defin ...
and other "family" choices. The authors make an explicit connection between urban legends and popular folklore, such as ''
Grimm's Fairy Tales ''Grimms' Fairy Tales'', originally known as the ''Children's and Household Tales'' (german: Kinder- und Hausmärchen, lead=yes, ), is a German collection of fairy tale A fairy tale, fairytale, wonder tale, magic tale, fairy story or ''Märc ...
'', where similar themes and motifs arise. For that reason, it is characteristic of groups within which a given narrative circulates to vehemently reject claims or demonstrations of non-factuality; an example would be the expressions of outrage by police officers who are told that adulteration of Halloween treats by strangers (the subject of periodic
moral panic#REDIRECT Moral panic A moral panic is a feeling of fear spread among many people that some evil threatens the well-being of society. It is "the process of arousing social concern over an issue – usually the work of moral entrepreneurs and the m ...
s) occurs extremely rarely, if at all.


Documentation

The
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
has made it easier both to spread and to debunk urban legends. For instance, the
Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access Internet access is the ability of ...
newsgroup ''alt.folklore.urban'' and several other websites, most notably
snopes.com Snopes , formerly known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages, is a Fact checking, fact-checking website. It has been described as a "well-regarded reference for sorting out myths and rumors" on the Internet. The site has also been seen as a so ...
, focus on discussing, tracking, and analyzing urban legends. The
United States Department of Energy The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transp ...
had a now-discontinued service called Hoaxbusters that dealt with computer-distributed
hoax A hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, rumor A rumour (British English), or rumor (American English; American and British English spelling diffe ...

hoax
es and legends. The most notable such hoaxes are known as
creepypasta Creepypastas are Horror fiction, horror-related legends that have been cut, copy, and paste, copied and pasted around the Internet. These Internet entries are often brief, user-generated, paranormal stories intended to scare readers. They include g ...
s, which are typically
horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic books focusing on h ...
stories written anonymously. Although most are regarded as obviously false, some, such as the
Slender Man The Slender Man (also spelled Slenderman) is a fictional supernatural character (arts), character that originated as a creepypasta Internet meme created by Something Awful forum user Eric Knudsen (also known as "Victor Surge") in 2009. He is depi ...
, have gained a following of people that do believe in them. Television shows such as ''Urban Legends'', '' Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction'', and later '' Mostly True Stories: Urban Legends Revealed'', feature re-enactments of urban legends, detailing the accounts of the tales and (typically later in an episode) revealing any factual basis they may have. The
Discovery Channel Discovery Channel (known as The Discovery Channel from 1985 to 1995, and often referred to as simply Discovery) is an American multinational pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when re ...
TV show ''
MythBusters ''MythBusters'' is an Australian-American science entertainment television program created by Peter Rees (producer), Peter Rees and produced by Australia's Beyond Television Productions. The series premiered on the Discovery Channel on January ...

MythBusters
'' (2003–2016) tried to prove or disprove several urban legends by attempting to reproduce them using the
scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence ...

scientific method
. The 1998 film ''Urban Legend'' featured students discussing popular urban legends while at the same time falling victim to them. Between 1992 and 1998 ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sun ...

The Guardian
'' newspaper "Weekend" section published the illustrated "Urban Myths" column by Phil Healey and Rick Glanvill, with content taken from a series of four books: ''Urban Myths'', ''The Return of Urban Myths'', ''Urban Myths Unplugged'', and ''Now! That's What I Call Urban Myths''. The 1994 comics anthology the '' Big Book of Urban Legends'', written by Robert Boyd,
Jan Harold Brunvand Jan Harold Brunvand (born March 23, 1933) is a retired American folklorist, researcher, writer, public speaker, and professor emeritus of English at the University of Utah The University of Utah (U of U, UofU, or simply The U) is a public ...
, and
Robert Loren Fleming Robert Loren Fleming (born November 5, 1956) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), com ...
, featured 200 urban legends, displayed as comics. The British writer Tony Barrell has explored urban legends in a long-running column in ''
The Sunday Times ''The Sunday Times'' is a British newspaper whose circulation makes it the largest in the quality press Quality press is a category of British newspapers in national circulation distinguished by their seriousness. The category used to be call ...
''. These include the story that
Orson Welles George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an American director, actor, screenwriter, and producer who is remembered for his innovative work in radio, theatre and film. He is considered to be among the greatest and most in ...

Orson Welles
began work on a
Batman Batman is a superhero who appears in American comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and debuted in Detective Comics 27, the 27th issue of the comic book ''Detective Comics'' on Marc ...

Batman
movie in the 1940s, which was to feature
James Cagney James Francis Cagney Jr. (; July 17, 1899March 30, 1986) was an American actor and dancer. On stage and in film, Cagney was known for his consistently energetic performances, distinctive vocal style, and deadpan comic timing. He won acclaim and ...

James Cagney
as the
Riddler The Riddler (Edward Nigma, later Edward Nygma and Edward Nashton) is a supervillain A supervillain or supercriminal is a variant of the villainous stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership ...

Riddler
and
Marlene Dietrich Marie Magdalene "Marlene" DietrichBorn as Maria Magdalena, not Marie Magdalene, according to Dietrich's biography by her daughter, Maria Riva ; however Dietrich's biography by Charlotte Chandler cites "Marie Magdalene" as her birth name . (, ; 2 ...

Marlene Dietrich
as
Catwoman Catwoman (Selina Kyle) is a character created by Bill Finger Milton Finger (February 8, 1914 – January 18, 1974), known professionally and personally as Bill Finger, was an American comic strip and comic book writer best known as the crea ...

Catwoman
; the persistent rumour that the rock singer
Courtney Love Courtney Michelle Love (née Harrison; born July 9, 1964) is an American singer, songwriter and actress. A figure in the alternative rock, alternative and grunge scenes of the 1990s, her career has spanned four decades. She rose to prominence ...

Courtney Love
is the granddaughter of
Marlon Brando Marlon Brando Jr. (April 3, 1924 – July 1, 2004) was an American actor with a career spanning 60 years, during which he won List of awards and nominations received by Marlon Brando, many accolades, including two Academy Award for Best Actor, A ...
; and the idea that a famous 1970s poster of
Farrah Fawcett Farrah Leni Fawcett (; born Ferrah Leni Fawcett; February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009) was an American actress, fashion model and artist. A four-time Primetime Emmy Award The Primetime Emmy Award is an American award bestowed by the Acade ...
contains a subliminal sexual message concealed in the actress's hair.


Genres


Crime

As with traditional urban legends, many internet rumors are about crimes either fictional or based on real events that have been largely exaggerated. Such stories can be problematic, because they purport to be both relevant modern news and do not follow the typical patterns of urban legends.


Medicine

Some legends are medical
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psycholog ...

folklore
, such as the claim that eating
watermelon Watermelon (''Citrullus lanatus'') is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Any ...

watermelon
seeds A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was released to generally positi ...

seeds
will result in a watermelon growing in the
stomach The stomach is a muscular, in the of humans and many other animals, including several s. The stomach has a dilated structure and functions as a vital organ. In the digestive system the stomach is involved in the second phase of digestion, ...

stomach
, or that going outdoors just after showering will result in catching a cold.


Internet

Internet urban legends are those spread through the internet, as through Usenet or emailChris Frost, (2000) "Tales on the Internet: making it up as you go along", ''ASLIB Proceedings'', Vol. 52 Iss: 1, pp. 5–10 or more recently
social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

social media
. They can also be linked to viral online content. Some take the form of
chain letters ''Chain Letters'' was a British television game show produced by ITV Tyne Tees, Tyne Tees and Barry & Enright Productions. The show was recorded at their City Road studios in Newcastle Upon Tyne and first broadcast on ITV (TV network), ITV in th ...
and are spread by e-mail, directing the reader to share them or meet a terrible fate, and following a recognizable outline of hook, threat, and finally request. Others are fake virus alerts, warning people of nonexistent threats to their computers, often appearing as online pop-ups claiming to be giveaways or store coupons.


Paranormal

These stories usually involve someone encountering something supernatural, such as a
cryptid This is a list of cryptids, which are animals that cryptozoologists believe may exist somewhere in the wild, but are not believed to exist by mainstream science. Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience, which primarily looks at anecdotal stories, and ...
—for instance,
Bigfoot Bigfoot, also commonly referred to as Sasquatch, in Canadian folklore, Canadian and Folklore of the United States, American folklore, is an ape-like creature that is purported to inhabit the forests of North America. Supposed evidence of Bigfoot ...

Bigfoot
or
Mothman In West Virginia folklore, the Mothman is a humanoid creature reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area from November 15, 1966, to December 15, 1967. The first newspaper report was published in the '' Point Pleasant Register'', dat ...

Mothman
, legendary creatures for which evidence is wanting but which have legions of believers. Research shows that people experiencing sudden or surprising events (such as a Bigfoot sighting) may significantly overestimate the duration of the event.


Marketing

Companies have been accused of hiding "secret messages" behind their
logo A logo (abbreviation of logotype; ) is a graphic Graphics () are visual The visual system comprises the sensory organ A sense is a biological system A biological system is a complex network which connects several biologically rel ...

logo
or packaging, as in the case of the old
Procter & Gamble The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) is an American multinational consumer goods A final goods or consumer goods is a commodity that is used by the consumer to satisfy current wants or needs, unlike intermediate goods which is utilized to produ ...
symbol, supposedly an occult figure that gave a panache to the brand. (If the thirteen stars in the symbol were connected a certain way, it would show three sixes in a row.) Similarly, a video of a Christian woman "exposing"
Monster Energy Monster Energy is an energy drink that was introduced by Hansen Natural Company (now Monster Beverage Corporation) in April of 2002. As of 2019, Monster Energy has a 35% share of the energy drink market, the second highest share after Red Bull. ...
for using the
Hebrew alphabet The Hebrew alphabet ( he, wikt:אלפבית, אָלֶף־בֵּית עִבְרִי, ), known variously by scholars as the Ktav Ashuri, Jewish script, square script and block script, is an abjad script used in the writing of the Hebrew language ...

Hebrew alphabet
symbol for the letter ''M" to disguise the number 666 went viral on Facebook. On the lighter side, some urban legends have been used intentionally for comic purpose in advertising. The most well-known examples include the use of a
Sasquatch Bigfoot, also commonly referred to as Sasquatch, in Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or al ...

Sasquatch
in Jack Link commercials, known as "Messin' with Sasquatch," and the use of
unicorn The unicorn is a legendary creature A legendary or mythological creature, also called fabulous creature and fabulous beast, is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.htt ...

unicorn
s in
Icebreakers An icebreaker is a special-purpose ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, rese ...
ads. Another is the
New Jersey Devils The New Jersey Devils are a professional sports, professional ice hockey team based in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference (NHL), Eastern ...
hockey team, named for the state's popular cryptid, the
Jersey Devil In Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia Philadelphia, colloquially Philly, is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the sixth-most populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Penn ...

Jersey Devil
.


See also

* List of urban legends * Campfire story *Conspiracy theory * Factoid * Japanese urban legend * Lumberwoods * Old wives' tale * wikt:se non è vero, è ben trovato * Superstition * Tall tale * Woozle effect


References


Sources

* *


Further reading

* * ''Urban Legends: A Collection of International Tall Tales and Terrors'', ed. by Gillian Bennett and Paul Smith (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 2007), * ''An Anthology of American Folktales and Legends'', ed. by Frank de Caro (London: Routledge, 2015)


External links


Snopes - Urban Legends Reference Pages

USC folklore legends archive

International Society for Contemporary Legend Research
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Urban Legend Urban legends, Public opinion