Friday, July 6, 2012

Classic Urban Legends

A Look At The Most Popular Urban Legends of All Time: History, Actual Facts, and false additions to real life events as they were passed down.


Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated with Urban Legends (also known as Folklore, although it's not always the same thing.)  I recall countless slumber parties that always ended the night with story telling. Some of those stories have been around forever. Some, however, are fairly new. Urban Legends are usually these kind of stories that are spread by "word of mouth" - he said, she said, "It happened to a friend of a friend." Usually when one is told, common sense tells us its too unimaginable to be true, although sometimes, even now at the age of 31, I even believe some to be true. Urban Legends can orginiate from a story that can stem from an actual true event, only fabricated to sound more interesting as the story is passed on from one person to another. 

Back to explaining how Urban Legends and Folklore are not always the same
thing. I read about Folklorist Mikel J. Koven and I found a quote that best
describes this. "All Urban Legends is folklore, though not all folklore is an 
Urban Legend."

Confused? Folklore is a culture's set of traditions, beliefs, and Urban Legends. Myths are stories people think are true when they're actually not true at all. Which is where Urban Legends fit in...Folklore is when it's believed to be TRUE...Myths are when there's proven evidence that the legend is FALSE. I think the Folklorist couldn't have said it more perfectly. Speaking awesome would it be to have the title "Folklorist" before your name? It's almost as awesome as titles such as "Queen, Pope, Best-selling Author, Notorious Serial Killer insert your name here." Folklorist Amber Turner. Hell yeah. It's thought distractions like these that get me off topic and why it takes so long to finish one simple blog. Ready for some awesome classic and up to date Urban Legends? I just chose randomly out of my memory archives. Stories me and my friends told, Emails I've received, things I heard "through the grapevine" and some that I even saw on the news growing up. I also added a few I found while researching this topic that I had either forgotten about or oddly...never heard of. Let's have a look, shall we?

  1. BLOODY MARY: Urban Legend says that if you stand in front of a mirror with the lights off, say "Bloody Mary" 3 times, turn back on the light, she will appear standing behind you.   FACT OR FICTION: This is definitely fiction at it's best. I've done this countless times growing up. I never saw her or anything even remotely resembling an entity. All I got out of it was a thrill and a good fabricated story to tell the friend who was waiting on the other side of the door for me. 
  2. THE BABYSITTER:  A Teenage girl is babysitting 3 children for the evening who are tucked away in their beds. She receives a call from a stranger asking "Have you checked on the children?" After countless calls like these, she phones the police who traces the call. She soon discovers when the police call back that the call was coming from another room INSIDE THE HOUSE - they tell her to get the kids and get out now. She races upstairs to wake the children but it's too late. They have been killed...and moments is she. FACT OR FICTION? Please! This never happened for real. After this legend spread like wildfire, police stations reported getting calls from people complaining that they were getting prank calls from anonymous callers who were using the popular phrase "Have you checked on the children?" But that's all it ever was...prank calls.
  3. FRIDAY THE 13TH: The Unlucky Day:  This is the oldest and most popular belief in America. The medical term for people who have a fear of Friday the 13th is called "Paraskeridekatriaphobics." I don't even know how to begin pronouncing that word but apparently it's real. A study showed 8 percent of Americans (21 million people) that suffer from this phobia. There is no fact or fiction on this. For some people they say it's their lucky day, others...won't even go to work that day. Hospitals have documented proof claiming that there are more patients admitted from car accidents on Friday the 13th than any other regular friday. Me? I enjoy Friday the 13th immensely. I celebrate it with good horror movies and junk food.
  4. SOMEONE'S IN THE BACKSEAT: A girl is driving home from having drinks with her friends when she pulls into an all night gas station to fill up. The creepy attendant keeps trying to persuade her to come inside because there is a problem with her credit card. When she refuses he tries to grab her arm and pull her away. Scared he was trying to attack her, she over powers him and jumps in her car to drive way unknowing that what the attendant was trying to do was lead her away from her car so he could tell her that he saw a man hidden in her backseat while he was pumping her gas. On down the road some she sees the man pop up from the backseat in her rear-view mirror raising a large butcher knife in which he then slashes her throat. FACT OR FICTION? This particular Urban Legend is very popular among teens. I first heard it myself when I was 16 years old when my friend "had a friend who knew a guy whose brother" had this happen to him in real life. But in actuality, this story comes from a similar real life event in 1964 when a New York City cop had an escaped murderer hiding in his backseat. No throat slashing though! The guy was able to escape and put him back behind bars. 
  5. ANKLE-SLASHING GANG INITIATION: I remember getting forwarded emails from friends and even strangers back when the only popular social sites were AOL and Yahoo Chatrooms. These emails were warnings of gang members hiding under parked ars in mall and garage parking lots waiting for you to come back. When you were busy unlocking your vehicle (back when people had to do it with an actual key) they would slice your ankles. FACT OR FICTION? Everyone that sent these emails claimed it was happening in their own home towns. I think that's bit of an exaggeration there because even though I did actually hear of things happening like this in maybe 2 states at the most on the news....I never knew anyone personally that it actually happened to. It did, however, always make me more aware when walking to my car and even still to this know...just in case! It's not that far off of an Urban Legend to not be something that can actually happen!
  6. TWO TEENAGE LOVERS GO PARKING: I know if for some odd reason none of you reading this has ever heard of any of the above Urban had to of heard this one or maybe one similar. It's the classic boy and girl go parking Urban Legend, where the boyfriend gets out of the car to "relieve himself" leaving his giddy girlfriend waiting in the car. WHen too much time passes, she becomes uneasy. She looks around and cannot find him. She begins to hear a "clink..clink...clink..." on the roof of the car. Swallowing her fear she gets out of the car and finds her boyfriend dead, hanging upside down from the tree above their car. The "clinking sound" she heard....was the sound of her dead boyfriend's class ring on the limp finger that swung back and forth touching just enough of the roof to making that noise. FACT OR FICTION? No proof or factual research that I have found makes this Urban Legend true or false. My opinion though, I'm sure it's false. I know a lot of people who scared the hell out of each other trying to reenact this story with their girlfriends/boyfriends.
  7. CLASSIC POP ROCKS/SODA COMBINATION/THE DEATH OF LITTLE MIKEY: In the early 1980's the little boy from the Life Cereal Commercial that they called Mikey started the most popular and never ending Urban Legend that made people all over the world fear mixing the candy pop rocks with a can of coke. The combination in conjunction was said to immediately make your stomach explode. Little Mikey came into the picture when people would ask how they knew it would happen in which they would reply: "It happened to Little know...the Life Cereal kid in the commercials. He's the one who has that popular catch phrase, "Mikey likes it" and "Give it to Mikey, he will eat anything." The death of this kid has been and still is the reason everybody knows this is a true story. FACT OR FICTION? Fiction ALL THE WAY. How do I know? Well because for one...I tried it myself. Many times actually and unless I'm just crazy...I still have a stomach intact and 2...John Gilchrist (also known as Little Mikey) is still alive today and works for a radio station in New York City.
  8. THE MISSING KIDNEY: Man is drugged in his hotel room by a prostitute and wakes up the next morning in a tub of ice and a very painful surgery site on his on his kidney area. When admitted to the E.R. the doctors find that his kidney was just removed hours before. FACT OR FICTION? Not true. I mean, not this particular one anyway. This is just the scarier and more gruesome story to tell people. In 1997 during New Orleans Mardi Gras, there were rumors circulating that someone was drugging tourist, removing various organs, and selling them. The rumor was true enough and it is a very real thing that happens in some places. But in New Orleans? I haven't been able to find actual evidence of it happening there. Just the rumor that people started during Mardi Gras. However, this type of thing happens all over the world in various countries. Americans really shouldn't risk their organs by visiting strange tropical unheard of places. That's where all the organ stealing sadistic mad men are.
  9. MAN BURIED ALIVE: I highlighted this one because this specific Urban Legend hits real close to home for me personally. It's more of an actual true story other than a custom belief folklore spread into exaggerated horror and gore for the entertainment of a thrill. People use to be buried alive all the time back in the old days when the doctors only way of pronouncing someone dead was leaningn over them to see if they could "hear" or possibly even "feel" them breathing. Which had to of sucked so bad to have lived in that time era when it was possible to die of anything at any minute and no amount of medical knowledge was around to prevent it. I have always had the worst fear of this happening to me when I die. Even though logically I know I will die when they drain the blood out of my body before I would ever actually "wake up" in a box 6 feet under the ground. But doesn't stop me from having this fear. FACT OR FICTION? As I already stated above, this is true. Real actual evidence of scratch marks on the lids of coffins - 219 cases of near-premature burial, 149 cases of actual premature burial and a dozen cases where embalming had begun on a not yet deceased body. Man screw that! I want my husband to make dang sure I am dead before ever calling the coroner. Give me time to res erect if I'm going to - even if it takes a week to be sure. When I start to smell horrible and a decay a little....then he can call them. I'm sure there will be some what of an investigation on his part..but it's well worth it to fulfill my last wish don't you think? Yeah, me too.




    Hope you guys have enjoyed my version of Urban Legends. I've been really excited and inspired by this topic for as long as I can remember. One of my favorite movies, of course, is Urban Legend. it's your turn. I would love to hear about any Urban Legends I have forgotten to mention here or just haven't yet heard of... Just use the comment section below...

    Until Next Time, Happy Blogging and MAKE SURE to check under your car in parking garages and Always check your backseat!

    *Thanks and Credit go to these 2 sites for research on approximate dates, times, and true case reports/in city locations:


    1. thoroughly enjoyed this... entertaining but also extremely well written. You put a lot of time and effort in your blog, I hope you keep it up...

    2. Thanks a lot! Really enjoyed the research for this one. Could have went on for days! Got a few more ideas for famous haunted places throughout the a lot of research already in the making for this one! Thank you for your feedback!