By now, thanks in part to the 1998 movie, everyone knows what an urban legend is. A fictional story, presented as fact, told and retold. Sometimes they're cautionary tales - the psychopath hiding in the backseat, the creepy calls coming from inside the house, the man with the hook for a hand who preys on the parking teenagers. Always told as, "No, that really happened to a friend of my cousin / a girl in my hometown." The beautiful, organ harvesting woman and the man who wakes up in a bathtub full of ice. The alligators in the NYC sewer tunnels. The hippies who poisoned Halloween candy. Despite the lack of evidence to the contrary, these stories were passed on, and on, causing fear, even panic.
|Full disclosure: I love the movie Urban Legend. I don't care what anyone says, it is an awesome movie. This may or may not be because I am in <3 with Jared Leto, and have been since 1994.|
But, as Google and Snopes have become a part of our everyday lives, it has become more difficult to perpetuate an urban legend. If someone tells me about how their uncle was the victim of the high-beams gang initiation, I can whip out my smart phone and confidently tell my friend, within five minutes, that their story is complete BS.