February 21, 2003
by Andrea Lipinksi,
Young Adult Librarian,
Kingsbridge Regional Library
Did you ever hear the one about the baby alligator that was flushed down the toilet and grew into a huge beast in the sewers? How about the girl who had spiders living in her beehive hairdo? What about the guy who tried to dry off a dog in the microwave? Or maybe you heard the one about Nostradamus predicting the World Trade Center disaster?
Urban legends are stories that spread like wildfire. They're a cross between a hoax, a rumor, a cautionary tale... and sometimes a bit of truth. They are spread from person to person through phone calls, letters, and (now more than ever) e-mail. You might hear different versions of the same story from different people, all of whom will tell you on good authority that they have the right information.
Check out books from the library to acquaint yourself with classic urban legends, or surf the web to keep up with the latest stories and find out how much truth they contain.
Spiders in the Hairdo: Modern Urban Legends. Collected and Retold by David Holt & Bill Mooney.
Urban Legends: The Truth Behind All Those Deliciously Entertaining Myths That are Absolutely, Positively, 100% Not True! by Richard Roeper.
The Big Book of Urban Legends: Adapted From the Works of Jan Harold Brunvand by Robert Loren Fleming and Robert F. Boyd, Jr. [A graphic novel.]
Urban Legends on About.com -- Groups urban legends by many categories, including Animals, Crime, Science, and Show Biz. Each story includes links to articles and websites that have more information on the topic.
Urban Legends Reference Pages -- Categories include Disney, Holidays, Luck, Quotes, and Sports. Each item is listed as "true," "false," or "undetermined."