An urban legend is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories thought to be factual by those circulating them. History The concept of folklore developed as part of the 19th century ideology of Romantic nationalism, leading to the reshaping of oral traditions to serve modern ideological The term is often used to mean something akin to an "apocryphal story. " Like all folklore, urban legends are not necessarily false, but they are often distorted, exaggerated, or sensationalized over time.
Despite its name, a typical urban legend does not necessarily originate in an urban setting. The term is simply used to differentiate modern legend from traditional folklore in preindustrial times. History The concept of folklore developed as part of the 19th century ideology of Romantic nationalism, leading to the reshaping of oral traditions to serve modern ideological For this reason, sociologists and folklorists prefer the term "contemporary legend. "
Urban legends are sometimes repeated in news stories and, in recent years, distributed by e-mail. Electronic mail, often abbreviated to e-mail, email, or originally eMail, is a Store-and-forward method of writing sending receiving People frequently allege that such tales happened to a "friend of a friend"—so often, in fact, that "friend of a friend," ("FOAF") has become a commonly used term when recounting this type of story. Friend of a friend ( FOAF) is a phrase used to refer to someone that one does not know well &mdash literally a friend of a friend
Some urban legends have passed through the years with only minor changes to suit regional variations. One example is the story of a woman killed by spiders nesting in her elaborate hairdo. More recent legends tend to reflect modern circumstances, like the story of people ambushed, anesthetized, and waking up minus one kidney, which was surgically removed for transplantation. Organ theft is the practice of stealing people's organs via surgery while they are under the influence of drugs or once the person is dead when the organs can be illicitly removed and
The first study of the concept now described as an "urban legend" seems to be Edgar Morin's La Rumeur d'Orléans (in French) in 1969. Edgar Morin is a French Philosopher and Sociologist who was born in Paris on July 8, 1921 under the original name Year 1969 ( MCMLXIX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Jan Harold Brunvand, professor emeritus of English at the University of Utah in the United States, used the term "urban legend" in print as early as 1979 in a book review appearing in the Journal of American Folklore 92:362. Jan Harold Brunvand (born 1933 is a Professor emeritus of English at the University of Utah in the United States, best known for spreading the concept The University of Utah (referred to locally as ' The U' or ' the U of U') is a publicly funded Research university in Salt Lake Year 1979 ( MCMLXXIX) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1979 Gregorian calendar) Even at that time, researchers had been writing about the phenomenon for a long time, but with varying terminology.
Brunvand used his collection of legends, The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends & Their Meanings, to make two points: first, that legends and 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. The vanishing hitchhiker (or phantom hitchhiker) is a reported phenomenon in which people travelling by vehicle meet with or are accompanied by a Hitchhiker who A legend ( Latin, legenda, "things to be read" is a Narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to History The concept of folklore developed as part of the 19th century ideology of Romantic nationalism, leading to the reshaping of oral traditions to serve modern ideological Brunvand has since published a series of similar books, and is credited as the first to use the term vector (inspired by the concept of biological vectors) to describe a person or entity passing on an urban legend. In Epidemiology, a vector is an Organism that does not cause Disease itself but which transmits Infection by conveying Pathogens from
Many urban legends are framed as complete stories with plot and characters. A fable is a succinct story in prose or verse that features Animals Plants inanimate objects, or forces of nature which are Mythos (Aristotle In literature the plot comprises all the events in a story particularly rendered towards the achievement of some particular Artistic or Emotional Urban legends often resemble a proper joke, especially in the manner of transmission, but are much darker in tone and theme. See also Mathematics of humor A joke is a short story or ironic depiction of a situation communicated with the intent of being humorous.
The compelling appeal of a typical urban legend is its elements of mystery, horror, fear or humor. The distinction between horror and terror is a standard literary and psychological concept applied especially to Gothic literature and film (Radcliffe 1826 Varma 1966 Crawford Many urban legends are presented as warnings or cautionary tales, while others might be more aptly called "widely dispersed misinformation," such as the erroneous belief that a college student will automatically pass all courses in a semester if one's roommate commits suicide. A cautionary tale is a traditional story told in Folklore, to warn its hearer of a Danger.  While such "facts" may not have the narrative elements of traditional urban legend, they are nevertheless conveyed from person to person with the typical elements of horror, humor or caution.
Much like some folktales of old, there are urban legends dealing with unexplained phenomena such as phantom apparitions.
Few urban legends can be traced to their actual origins. Exceptions include the The Submarine, the Steam tunnel incident and the Hungarian suicide song "Gloomy Sunday. The Submarine is the name given to a particularly large and aggressive Great white shark that is falsely claimed to have dwelled in False Bay, near Cape Town The steam tunnel incident refers not to a single event but rather to a set of Urban myths wherein players enacting Live action role-playing games perish often in Hungary (Magyarország 'mɔɟɔrorsaːg) officially in English the Republic of Hungary ( Magyar Köztársaság, literally Magyar (Hungarian Republic " Gloomy Sunday " (from Hungarian "Szomorú vasárnap" 'somoruː 'vɒʃarnɒp is a song written by László Jávor and set to music in 1933 by Hungarian pianist "
People sometimes take urban legends to be true, instead of recognizing them as tall tales or unsubstantiated rumors, because of the way they are told. Tall Tale, also known as Tall Tale The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill is a 1995 family Western movie starring Patrick A rumour or rumor (see spelling differences) is often viewed as "an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and The teller of an urban legend may claim it happened to a friend, which serves to personalize and enhance the power of the narrative. Since people, unconsciously or otherwise, often exaggerate, conflate or edit stories when telling them, urban legends can evolve over time.
Many urban legends depict horrific crimes, contaminated foods or other situations which would affect many people. Anyone believing such stories might feel compelled to warn loved ones.
Many urban legends are essentially extended jokes, told as if they were true events. See also Mathematics of humor A joke is a short story or ironic depiction of a situation communicated with the intent of being humorous. Others, like tall tales in general, contain a grain of truth. The urban legend that Coca-Cola developed the drink Fanta to sell in Nazi Germany without public backlash originated as the actual tale of German Max Keith, who invented the drink and ran Coca-Cola's operations in Nazi Germany during World War II. Coca-Cola is a carbonated Soft drink sold in stores restaurants and Vending machines in more than 200 countries Fanta is a global Brand of fruit-flavored Soft drinks from the The Coca-Cola Company. Nazi Germany and the Third Reich are the common English names for Germany under the regime of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers Max Keith (pronounced "Kite" was the head of Coca-Cola GmbH, the major bottler of Coca-Cola during the Nazi period of German history World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including 
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. A moral is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event
With the advent of the internet, a new kind of urban legend is beginning to emerge where a passage from a book, television show, film or play is taken wholesale and attributed to some well-known social or political figure, largely through chain e-mails.
Regardless of origins, urban legends typically include one or more common elements: the legend 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 (this is a typical element of many e-mail phishing scams); and it is often touted as "something a friend told me," while the friend is identified by first name only or not identified at all. In the field of computer security phishing is the Criminally Fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames Passwords A hallmark of false urban legends(although not the only sign of a false urban legend) is a lack of specific information about the incident(names, dates, locations, when or where it was published, or similar information).
Additionally, urban legends will often contain a grain of truth (in that even if an urban legend is not probable or plausible, most are at least possible). Often, this will come in the form of the dire warning mentioned above (such as a serial killer hiding in the back seat of a car—while possible, the chances are extremely remote and the circumstances highly unlikely).
The earliest term by which these narratives were known, “urban belief tales,” highlights what was then thought to be a key property: they were held, by their tellers, to be true accounts, and the device of the FOAF was a spurious but significant effort at authentication.  While at least one classic legend – the “Death Car” -- has been shown to have some basis in fact,, folklorists as such are interested in debunking these narratives only to the degree that establishing non-factuality warrants the assumption that there must be some other reason why the tales are told and believed.  As in the case of myth, these narratives are believed because they construct and reinforce the worldview of the group within which they are told, or “because they provide us with coherent and convincing explanations of complex events”  For this reason, it is characteristic of groups within which a given narrative circulates to react very negatively to claims or demonstrations of non-factuality; examples include expressions of outrage by police officers who are told that adulteration of Hallowe’en treats by strangers is extremely rare, if it has occurred at all, or the vehement responses of Vietnam veterans to the Jerry Lembke’s 1998 study ("The Spitting Image: Myth, Media and the Legacy of Viet Nam") of 495 news articles on returning veterans that showed only 32 incidents of any type of animosity or antagonism towards veterans, and that the only reported incidents of spitting were directed by supporters of veterans, at protestors. See also Mythology Myth is derived from the Greek word μύθος mythos, which simply means 'story' A comprehensive world view (or worldview) is a term Calqued from the German word Weltanschauung ( Welt is the German Vietnam Era veteran is a phrase used to describe someone who served in the armed forces of participating countries during the Vietnam War. Year 1998 ( MCMXCVIII) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar) However, the narrative contains a truth for its tellers which is distinct from historical factuality: “The persistence of spat-upon Vietnam veteran stories suggests that they continue to fill a need in American culture. The image of spat-upon veterans is the icon through which many people remember the loss of the war, the centerpiece of a betrayal narrative that understands the war to have been lost because of treason on the home front. ”  Newspaper columnist Bob Greene received numerous responses to his solicitation of stories from veterans who claimed to have been spit upon (though none, even from anonymous sources, claiming to have done any spitting). 
The term urban myth is also used. Brunvand feels that urban legend is less stigmatizing because myth is commonly used to describe things that are widely accepted as untrue. The more academic definitions of myth usually refer to a supernatural tale involving gods, spirits, the origin of the world, and so forth. The term supernatural or supranatural ( Latin: super, supra "above" + natura "nature" pertains to entities events God is the principal or sole Deity in Religions and other belief systems that worship one deity. The English word " spirit " comes from the Latin " spiritus " (breath A creation myth is a supernatural mytho-[[religion religious]] story or explanation that describes the beginnings of humanity, Earth, life, and However, the usage may simply reflect the idiom (e. g. , in Australia urban myth is used).
The term urban myth is preferred in some languages such as Mexican Spanish, where conventional coinage is "mito urbano" rather than "leyenda urbana. Mexican Spanish ( español mexicano in Spanish is the Spanish language as it is spoken in Mexico. " In French, urban legends are usually called rumeurs d'Orléans ("Orleans' rumours") after Edgar Morin's work. "Légende contemporaine" is an acceptable translation of the English idiom, instead of "légende urbaine", which is an improper and meaningless verbatim translation, though used by some French sociologists or journalists. But neither expression is commonly used: for ordinary French people, the more genuine terms rumeur or canular (hoax), not to mention more colloquial and expressive words, describe this phenomenon of "viral spread tall story" properly enough.
Some scholars prefer the term contemporary legend to highlight those tales that originated relatively recently. This is, of course, true for all periods in history; for instance, an eighteenth-century pamphlet alleging that a woman was tricked into eating the ashes of her lover's heart would be a contemporary legend with respect to the eighteenth century.
The main scholarly association on the subject is called The International Society for Contemporary Legend Research; its journal is titled Contemporary Legend.
The advent of the Internet has facilitated the proliferation of urban legends. At the same time, however, it has allowed more efficient investigation of this social phenomenon.
Discussing, tracking, and analyzing urban legends has become a popular pursuit. It is the topic of the Usenet newsgroup, alt. Usenet, a Portmanteau of "user" and "network" is a world-wide distributed Internet discussion system folklore. urban, and several web sites, most notably snopes.com. Snopes (ˈsnoʊps also known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages, is a Web site that is the most widely-known resource for validating or debunking Urban legends
The United States Department of Energy has a service called Hoaxbusters that deals with all sorts of computer-distributed hoaxes and legends. The United States Department of Energy ( DOE) is a Cabinet -level department of the United States government responsible for energy policy
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 the show, these programs reveal any factual basis they may have. Urban Legends is a 30 minute 2007 television documentary series syndicated in the U Beyond Belief Fact or Fiction? was a 1997 Anthology Television show produced by FOX network Mostly True Stories Urban Legends Revealed is a Docu-drama about Urban legends and re-enacting them and researching their credibility
Since 2003 the Discovery Channel TV show MythBusters has tried to prove or disprove urban legends by attempting to test them or reproduce them using the scientific method. Discovery Channel is an American Satellite and Cable TV channel (also delivered via IPTV, Terrestrial television and MythBusters is a Popular science Television program produced by Australian firm Beyond Television Productions originally for the Scientific method refers to bodies of Techniques for investigating phenomena