28 thoughts on “Urban Legend”

  1. My friends are generally not the sort to pass along urban legends. And yet I’ve heard a few.

    I think the first was told to me in the 1950s by my dad, who repeated it as a true story. Many years later I suspected it was an urban legend. That story, oddly enough, seems to have been around since the 1930s and has been told with many elaborations that give it the detail that we often associate with authenticity.

    I think the last urban legend someone shared with me (insisting it was true) was about how urban black gangs had an initiation ceremony in which the aspiring gang member would flash his car headlights at another car (driven by a white guy) and then murder the driver after both cars stopped. That story was circulation in the early 1990s. I didn’t believe the story, although I didn’t say so.

    Here’s the kicker: that story was told to me by a black friend as we were driving to North Dakota to hunt pheasants. Ralph was a really sweet guy from Mississippi who was one of my daughter’s teachers. If a white friend told me that story, I would have laughed and challenged the story. I didn’t know how to respond when I heard it from a black friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The NOAA map says 4 inches, maybe. There is a radio guy named Freddy in Bismarck who was talking on Monday about getting 24 inches and urging people to get to the grocery stores to stock up. People believed him and the grocery stores in town were really busy. A TV weather man had him on his show yesterday and took him to task for making up the predicted snow amounts.


  2. From time to time I’ve heard stories about secret tunnels and passages under downtown Minneapolis. My dad, who worked in commercial heating and air conditioning, told me that one could be accessed from under the Foshay Tower.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t thought about this for a long time. The first year I was a freshman adviser (1966) one of my advisees was a young woman who dated black guys. In those days white society was terrified by black radicals, especially the Black Panther Party. My advisee told me black radicals had maps of the vast, interconnected tunnel system that carried utilities under Minneapolis. She said there was a plot to place bombs in strategic areas of that system. I didn’t lose any sleep over that story.


  3. The Kindred, ND lights are mysterious lights that are said to appear just outside Kindred. No one has ever captured them on camara.


  4. I have no contact with the local urbanites. I only talk to Sandy and the maintenance man, a friend by now. He tells not tales. Our local TV weatherman lives in this building. He ignores the weather bureau hysteria about storms. He makes much more modest predictions and usually nails it. Have not talked to him this week.


  5. First one I remember was the one about razor blades in apples of trick-or-treaters. Although it may have happened by now, who knows?

    The latest came to me as an email about a proposed 28th Amendment: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representative”, and then gave details like these: “Many citizens had no idea that Congress members could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they didn’t pay into Social Security, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws.” While I agree with the premise, I found on Snopes that this has been going around the internet since 2010… https://www.thoughtco.com/about-that-proposed-28th-amendment-3299418


    1. Pins, needles, and razor blades have all been documented as having been inserted into Halloween candy. Reports of candy tainted with poison have NOT been documented. Social media plays a big role in spreading these false rumors these days, I see them almost daily somewhere on the internet.


  6. Not sure if “urban legend” is the correct term for this, but so many false rumors have been circulated on various social media platforms.

    I find it hard to comprehend how these stories find traction, most of them are laughable and bizarre. How could anyone believe that Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager were running a child sex ring from a Washington pizzeria?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s what some people want to believe, I think, to strengthen their case. I’ve found myself “wanting” to believe some of the horrible things about #45 because it fits (non-logical) impression of him. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff about him seems to be true.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. The following is from an article published in the NYT on March 8, 2018

    “A massive, one of a kind study from data scientists and social media experts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has examined the spread of more than 126,000 stories tweeted millions of times between 2006 and the end of 2017. They found that compared to tweets with verified true claims, tweets with undeniably false claims were 70% more likely to be retweeted. These false tweets also spread faster. The study showed that the average false story took about 10 hours to reach 1,500 Twitter users, while it took 60 hours for the truth. On average, false information reached 35% more users than true news.”

    If this trend continues, we’re screwed, folks.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I worry about this, PJ. The trend is obviously spooky. And it comes at a time when institutions that might have vetted information for previous generations are becoming weaker. A lot of people seem to believe that everybody’s expertise is equally valuable (or equally worthless), which frees us all to choose our own facts.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. People have always tended to believe what they wanted to believe. It seems to me we live in times when that attitude is glorified. Our president brags about following his instincts rather than expert opinion. He thinks his example proves the merit of trusting one’s gut; I think his example proves just the opposite.


        2. Not sure what you’re saying here, Steve. Are you insisting that if DT insists that something is true, that, then, becomes a fact?


  8. An urban legend that used to circulate on e-mail 25 years ago or so was the Neiman Marcus cookie story. It was an update of a story that involved the red velvet cake that was famously served at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, IIRC.

    If you google it, you find that Neiman Marcus eventually came up with a cookie recipe that they gave out for free, as a response to the enduring urban legend.

    Liked by 2 people

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