Urban Legends: Legend Has It...

Written by NJames
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A man meets a beautiful woman. She takes him back to her hotel room, makes him a drink, and everything goes black. The man awakens in a bathtub full of ice, and as he slowly comes to, he realizes one of his kidneys has been stolen. Did this really happen? No, it didn't.

People have told these stories for centuries; the events change from person to person, but the basics of the story remain the same. Urban legends, or folklore, create the illusion of something that could actually happen, but never did. We've heard the legend of a babysitter threatened over the phone by a mysterious man. "I'm going to kill the children, then I'm coming for you," he hisses. Upon tracing the call, the young woman discovers the calls are coming from inside the house. What makes the stories seem real are the number of people who tell them. It always happens to a friend of a friend, or a neighbor down the street. The truth is, nothing of the sort really did.

Folklore is created in almost every culture. In Russia, there is a legend used to frighten children who misbehave. Legend has it, deep in the woods, an old witch named Baba Yaga wanders around looking for children to eat. She has sharp, jagged teeth made of iron, and her house stands on chicken feet. Joanna Cole, a well-known children's author, wrote a book in 1983 called, Bony-Legs; Baba Yaga in Russian means "bony-legged." When someone tries to convince you that these legends are real—don't believe them. As scary and disturbing as they are, these legends are meant to tell around campfires, and nothing more.

Of course, there are certain lessons to be learned: Always check your backseat before getting into a car: in one legend, a woman has to learn this the hard way after an axe-wielding maniac slides into her car. Also, never take your date to an isolated area when a maniac has escaped from the nearby prison, especially when he has a hook for a hand. For more information on urban legends, check out your local bookstore or library. When fear takes over, and you feel your heart turn to ice, keep telling yourself one thing: "It's only a story."

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