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Urban Legends
What are they?
• Popular stories alleged to be true which
spread from person to person via oral or
written communication (e.g., fax or email).
• They're defined as stories alleged to be
true in the absence of real evidence or
Where do they come from?
• Legends tend to arise spontaneously and
are rarely traceable to a single point of
• They spread primarily from individual to
individual through interpersonal
communication, and only in atypical cases
through mass media or other institutional
What are they about?
• Stories concern outlandish, humiliating,
humorous, terrifying, or supernatural
events — events which, in the telling,
always happened to someone else.
• Sometimes, but not always, there's an
implied moral message, e.g., "Be careful,
or the same thing could happen to you!"