The Truth About Urban Legends
Huddled around the warm glow of a crackling fire or nestled within the protective confines of blanket forts where mugs of hot cocoa are gripped between clammy palms and eyes are wide as saucers, haunting whispers pass on scary stories that have been told for generations before; cautionary tales are spoken with relaxing lull, beckoning the audience to both trust and heed the words. It’s through these stories of horror where the line between fact and fiction is blurred, but we all know that the unseen veil only hides so much. Where is the tangible reality compared to the woven tale? Perhaps it’s all based on experiences, and what we think is only a spooky story to raise the hairs on our necks is actually...the truth.
What Is An Urban Legend?
After the sun dips down behind the horizon and darkness blankets our surroundings, friends and family come together where stories of the past are told. Borne from past experiences, urban legends are stories of horror or humor meant to elicit our deepest fears or tickle our funny bones. Many of these dark are based on truth and come with cautionary endings. Oftentimes they’re quite chilling. Yet despite the elicited fear, some stories spur children to run into dark restrooms where they quietly utter the name of a woman - Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary - with the crawling anticipation of her appearance.
Urban legends have been passed on orally, though today they are created and spread through the creeping webs of the internet. Tantalizing tales in the form of creepypastas where Slenderman stalks darkened woods or Candle Cove and it’s strange, nagging feeling that you’ve seen it somewhere before. Innocent nursery rhymes we danced to while singing “Ring around the rosey” without knowing it had been about the Great Plague of 1665. The variations and stories may differ, but the horrors, nightmares, and caution come just the same.
Are Urban Legends Real?
While many don’t believe in such tales that are told, there is always an inkling of truth behind each story. Perhaps now, with a world full of technology at our fingertips, where it’s easy to slip beneath the cracks of what is real and what is not, there’s resistence in allowing our minds to run away with told horrors of the past. What if I could change your mind?
A classic urban legend is that of Lover’s Lane; teenage lovebirds drive to a secluded place to park their car, and while they want to believe they’re alone, something sinister watches from the distance. A tale warning teens and young adults against premarital sex, surely it can hold no weight in reality. However, there’s been three known cases of a dastardly deed committed, one of which being the popular Zodiac Killer.
Some of us recall the terrifying wiles of Candyman. Like Bloody Mary, one only needs to call for him to come, and for an unfortunate victim he climbs in through the medicine cabinet. The grain of truth comes from Chicago where a woman had been brutally murdered by an unknown stranger who did just as the Candyman - gained access to her safe home through the bathroom medicine cabinet.
While these are only a couple of chilling stories to make you anxious, perhaps looking out the window or checking the door of your closet, there are dozens more where both fact and fiction meet to creative an urban legend.
Urban legends are what we make of them - do they send chills down your spine or cause you to think twice before taking an elevator? While some hold many similarities across various cultures, new and terrifying tales are being created as you read this. The choice is up to the audience on whether they wish to believe them real or fake, but every story carries a grain of truth, even if but a tiny one. Whatever you do, please remember not to step on a crack, or you’ll break your Mother’s back.