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Global Urban Legends
Around the World
No mater what part of the world you are from, urban legends bound. Whether it is just in the community or the country at large, everyone knows of at least on urban legend. You can't walk out your door with out hearing a child talk about a witch living in the woods near the school, a haunted house, or vanishing school bus. It isn't limited to Britain or the U.S. either. This happens world wide.
Everyone knows about some urban legends that have traveled from town to town, country to country. This is usually because they were passed from generation to generation. Everyone knows of Bigfoot, and his cousin, the abominable snowman (a.k.a. the yeti). Loch Ness has a famous monster in its frigid waters. Then there is the Boogyman in every child's closet or under their bed. And let's not forget Slenderman!
The thing is, each one is based off the fear of the unknown lurking just out of sight. It could be just wwithin reach or far away, but you can't quite make it out until it's too late. Bigfoot blends into his surroundings, as does the yeti, Nessie, and Slenderman. Because you can't see them, they become even more terrifying.
As humans, our brains have a desire to know everything and to know where it is, what it is, and what it does. Urban legends, ghost stories, and the like are difficult for our brains to take in. We catagorize such things so that we can have a concept of what they are and what they can do. For example, a ghost appears and is often benevolent, a poltergeist is caused when an adolescent is stressed and can be malevolent, and that monster in the trees is big, hairy, and extremely violent. We catalog things in the realm of the unknown so that we can trust it later.
However, no matter how the ghost hunter of Ghost Hunters International try to sell it, you can't study the unknown. That is why it is called the unknown Using pseudoscience to pray on those who truly believe in the paranormal is sad, but they are hardly the first or last to do so. "Psychics" have been doing it for years.
Urban Legends Everywhere!
As I said before, urban legends are everywhere. In Japan, everyone has a Hanako-san story. She lives in the girls' bathroom in the third stall on the third floor. In the Amazon, El Tunchi prays on those who are less than environment friendly by whistling a spooky tune. Answering the whistle results in a fright for the tree huggers and death for the gas guzzlers. And there are hundreds more!
And they aren't limited to just spooky stories. Some are hilarious. In Japan, Shirime is a ghost with a huge eye... on its butt! It doesn't hurt its victims, just scares them. Or the blind old lady who wanted to have a memento of her dead husband, so she cut off his finger. He comes back from the dead because... she didn't cut off his finger.
The best kind of urban legend is the ones that stick with us. Whether funny, scary, or somewhere in-between, we remember them because they remind us of how we don't know everything.
Yes, the missing link is still missing. Yes, Nessie is still an unknown creature. No, there is no boogyman in your closet, but the monster outside might be real. It's fun. Let's leave the unknown alone. We need the reminder to stay out of the woods, never go anywhere ALONE, and never lock the door behind you when summoning Bloody Mary.