Urban Legends.

Essay by ChristeRaeUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2003

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Claim 1: Supposedly a woman in California owned a small dog. She washed the dog one day and tried to dry it in a microwave oven. The dog exploded from this treatment. Claim 2: A girl went to Taco Bell and ordered a chicken burrito. She was in a hurry and ate the burrito in her car while driving home. The next day her mouth was swollen. She went to the doctor, took some tests and found out she ate roach eggs, which were in her taco. The previous stories are urban legends, any modern, fictional story, told as truth, that reaches a wide audience by being passed from person to person(Brian 1). What makes these stories popular, why are they told and retold, and what does this show about contemporary culture?

First of all, what makes urban legends so popular? One reason is because these stories have a developed storyline.

The story always happens somewhere to someone. This makes the story more believable and therefore popular. Urban legends are usually based on true stories or situations that happen to a friend's friend or a friend's cousin, for example. Urban legends are always astonishing and leave you with a worrying feeling. This is another reason why they are popular. People are intrigued by stories they can relate to their everyday life and be left with a sense of horror.

Furthermore, why are urban legends passed on? There is no established reason why people pass on these legends. There are, though, seven different types of people who pass them on. The first, a believer passes on a legend because they feel that it is true and that others should be aware also. The second type is called fence sitters meaning that these people will tell an Urban Legend because they suspect...