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Why do we tell/share urban legends?


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#1 autumnbelle

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 05:46 PM

Have been thinking about this for awhile. Why do we tell stories like these? As cautions to others? Just as entertainment?

I think it is in our nature to share stories. And I know people who forward e'mails with what turn out to be modern urban legends feel they are being helpful (so even when I research and find the warning not to be true, I still thank my friends/neighbours for caring).

But is there more than that? Do we feel a little powerful sharing knowledge? Are lots of people gullible?

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#2 BLACK SHUCK

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 12:08 PM

Have been thinking about this for awhile. Why do we tell stories like these? As cautions to others? Just as entertainment?

I think it is in our nature to share stories. And I know people who forward e'mails with what turn out to be modern urban legends feel they are being helpful (so even when I research and find the warning not to be true, I still thank my friends/neighbours for caring).

But is there more than that? Do we feel a little powerful sharing knowledge? Are lots of people gullible?



Often a moral is associated with the story, others just like to swap "screy tales", as my 2 grandmothers can verify. Sometimes it's a way to explain something thhat cannot be quickly or eaisly understood, by the rational mind Mostly, here inthe South, it's "tradition", verbaal passing along of 'history", regardless how unbelieveable that hhistory is.

#3 CaveRat2

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 02:22 PM

One also has to wonder how many of these legends actually began as a truth? It is human nature to always try to "go one better." In the telling and retelling the story becomes embellished.

For instance, maybe 100 years ago the "crazy" man who lived in the shack at the edge of town was simply not understood. Later he was "accused" (not formally of course) of being connected with a disappearance of a child. (Who cares if the child actually just ran away from home.) We all "know" the crazy man was responsible.

In the telling and retelling the man becomes a child killer. Then it's not one but several kids. Of course by now the man has passed on, the shack burned down and a shopping mall has taken its place. But the story lives on.

#4 mastermind73

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 12:35 PM

Well said, CaveRat.

The evolution of a story from perfectly explainable to urban legend is like a generations-long game of "telephone".

I believe that in many cases children and teenagers are the ones telling these stories which, of course, have the tendancy to embellish just a LITTLE bit. :kitty:

As for why we tell them? Why not? What's life without mysteries? Ones that are local tend to be even more interesting.

Why do we investigate them? Well, probably because no matter how far-fetched the legend, there's always the slightest of chances there may be some truth to it since it will almost never be disproven.
"If dreams are like movies, Then memories are films about ghosts.You can never escape, you can only move south down the coast.""Don't you remember when we were young, and we wanted to set the world on fire?'Cause I still am, and I still do."

#5 BLACK SHUCK

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 08:33 PM

Heck, I forgot to menttion, bec :kitty: ause it's downright fun to do.

Edited by BLACK SHUCK, 14 April 2011 - 08:34 PM.


#6 axlfoley

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 07:50 AM

Heck, I forgot to menttion, bec :kitty: ause it's downright fun to do.

I agree.

Whatever


#7 Cryscat

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 08:56 PM

true. Who doesn't like a good story?
Don't take life too seriously, no one ever gets out alive.

#8 BLACK SHUCK

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:20 PM

Total agreement..as to the "funny story" bit.Watching ffolks go screaming as they run into the darkness does have somethhing to be said for it.

#9 Shadowperson

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 05:50 PM

We tell the stories to keep children in line. Just like the Edgar Allen Poe house in Baltimore. Children who don't behave get told the ghost of Poe is coming to get them. Poe became the boogieman of Baltimore just like that. Most folk lore is warnings hidden in a scary story, the rest is just that, a story...or a ghost.
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#10 Abominable Dr. Civis!

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 11:22 PM

I like the added sense of wonder in the world you get from the stories. It creates a sense of mystery in the mundane on the positive end of the spectrum and on the negative end it reinforces ignorant and irrational behaviors. Only thing more taxing than a closed-minded skeptic is a closed-minded believer in everything they hear.
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#11 Inspirosity

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 07:35 PM

I think we tell such stories because it is human nature to tell stories. We are social creatures by nature, and by exchanging ideas and information with one another, we can create a connection. Listening to ghost stories and urban legends and other such tales might have helped explain the world to people. It also stretches the imagination and let's people explore different possibilities. Or sometimes, people like the thrill of being scared. There is a sort of adrenaline rush that comes from hearing spooky stories or horror films.

I do agree, however, that these sorts of things are fun!

#12 Moody98

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 10:21 AM

Stories are also a way to keep people aware just in case there are such things as bloody Mary or whatever else it won't be such a shock because you already know the tale.




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