Urban Legends Revealed

It happened to a friend of a friend of a friend…

I've always held a particular fascination for urban legends. Varying from the completely believable to the utterly insane, these stories and old wives tales are something everyone has heard at least one of. Whether or not to believe them is another story...

Urban legends exist for almost any subject you can think of, from food, to politics, to weddings. Some serve to deliver a moral whereas others are purely meant as humorous anecdotes told to amuse others. Some even have some truth to them.

Times and places of the so-called 'events' detailed in urban legends vary, but they all have a few things in common; everyone will know at least one, and most people will have believed at least one. The origins of the legends are usually unknown, but sometimes it's found to have stemmed from an actual event which was blown out of proportion.

Sewer Alligators - the stuff of legends


Perhaps the one most people think of first is the legend of the alligators in the sewers. The story goes that holidaymakers (vacationers) in Florida would purchase baby alligators for their children to raise back home as pets. When these poor gators grew bigger than the parents expected, and it was obvious they weren't going to be cute, cuddly and affectionate (what do they expect, they're Alligators!), the parents flushed the rapidly growing reptiles down the toilet.

As the legend goes, these flushed gators thrived inside the sewers, grew to immense proportions and bred, filling the sewers of New York City with full-grown Alligators. The offspring developed Albinism due to living without daylight, and were blind.

No-one is sure where this legend came from, but there have been instances of crocs, gators and caimans discovered in unusual places. An 8 foot gator was found in a sewer in 1935, but it was theorized to have swam up the Harlem river and somehow found its way into the drainage system.

It would be hard to replace this bunny...


Another popular one is the legend I like to call the 'Resurrecting Rabbit', although versions exist in which the animal in question is a fish, a budgie, or something else normally kept in a cage. The story usually goes that a person discovers their dog has apparently killed their neighbour's bunny and in a panic, rushes out to the pet store to buy a new one and hopes the neighbour won't notice. Of course the neighbour does; finding their bunny dead that morning they had buried it, only for the dog to do what dogs do, and dig it up...

A hook, yesterday


Hook em and book em

One legend which has moralistic undertones is The Hook; told to adolescents everywhere and meant to discourage late night back-seat shenanigans. The tale begins with two teenagers having a 'make-out' session in the boy's car when the news comes on that an escaped lunatic is on the loose in that area. Apparently the escapee has a hook for a hand and the news announcer urges anyone who sights him to call the police immediately. The teenagers hear noises from outside the car... The story then goes one of two ways; the teenagers drive away, scared, only to find a hook embedded in the side of the car when they get home...a more macabre version ends with the boy getting out of the car to investigate the noises - a blatant show of bravado - only to never come back. The girl, hiding in the car, hears banging noises on top of the car and later, when the police come and drive her away, she looks back to find her boyfriend dead on the roof...

Whether this story really did prevent teenagers from 'parking' is inconclusive, but it remains a popular tale to this day since it's first airing around the 1960s.

Little Miss Muffett had a Beehive

Vanity plays a part in urban legends. You may have heard the story about the woman who glorified in having a lustrous 'Beehive' hairdo which she took hours maintaining and went to great pains at night not to sleep on it and ruin it. Needless to say, she rarely washed it; preferring instead to keep it looking tidy by spraying and teasing it.

The legend goes that one day the woman was found dead on her bed with a towel wrapped around her hair. When the towel was removed, it was discovered that a spider had laid eggs in her hairdo and the newly hatched babies where making a meal of her scalp...

More versions of this legend involve; a young man with his hair in dreadlocks, a young girl who's mother kept her hair in plaits without removing them, and there's even tales dating back as far as medieval times of the Devil visiting a vain parishioner who used to miss Mass because of primping her locks; the Devil appeared as a spider and took nest in her hair.

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Comments 2 comments

snarlmkiv profile image

snarlmkiv 8 years ago

nice hub dude. im always attracted to the fictional stories. great write up.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I love dead granny stories as well, great hub!

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