Urban Legend

Today in 565 AD, St, Columba reported seeing the Loch Ness Monster.  I wonder how he would feel if he knew people were still talking about Nessie today.

Around Luverne, legend has it that Jesse James jumped his horse across a ridiculously wide gap at the Devil’s Gulch in Garretson, SD, running away from Northfield and the disastrous raid there.  I have seen the gap and I seriously doubt a horse could jump it, but what do I know? Luvernites also believe that a tornado will never strike the town because of some special characteristics of the Blue Mounds formations to the north of the city. Maybe. Maybe, though, we have just been lucky.

Any legends from where you have lived or where you grew up? What is your favorite urban legend?


29 thoughts on “Urban Legend”

  1. Lake Minnetonka has its own monster:
    as do Lake Pepin (Peppie), Rock Lake near Lake Mills, Wisconsin (Rocky) and Lake Champlain (Champ). I’m sure there are others I haven’t listed.
    Some of the things that fascinate me locally are factual but little known, like the fact that there was once a gold mine in Robbinsdale (and I think it nearly ruined Crystal Lake) and the fact that the bedrock below the city of Minneapolis is riddled with caves. Some have been sealed off and some have been incorporated into the sewer system. Some are well documented and some are legendary. Here’s a lengthy excerpt from an exploration:

    Liked by 3 people

    1. St Paul has many caves, too, including some that were significant for Indians, so they had pictographs. Many caves are along the river. Some have ties to the gangster and Prohibition days. Because people (including my sister’s kid) kept breaking into them, authorities have sealed up the more dangerous caves. Some caves were big and complicated, with spots in them where people would die from a lack of oxygen.

      The big Ford plant that sat in view of the apartment my daughter’s family live in now was itself riddled with caves. Amusingly, in the 1920s the rivalry between Minneapolis and Saint Paul was so fierce workers from Minneapolis often slipped into a tunnel under the river to get to work on the other side without neighbors seeing them. The Ford Bridge was built in 1927, eliminating the need for people to sneak into work.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When our son was young, (about 6) he noticed that the meatloaf I made had a bay leaf on the top. I convinced him that meatloaf came from trees. He believed it for about a week.

    I could start my own legend today about the sharp clawed monsters that infest my house. I had three tomatoes ripening in a peach crate. I noticed the box lid ajar on several occasions this weekend, and just put the lid back on each time. I checked the tomatoes for ripeness last night and discovered that all three were covered in punctures. Who could have done this? The cats insist it happens at night when we all are sleeping, and that there are creatures in the house they trying to catch but haven’t succeeded in apprehending yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My dad slept without a pillow most of his life. He told me once it was because his older brother Carl slept without a pillow and Carl said that’s what gave him broad shoulders. So that’s why Dad slept without a pillow. And I did that for quite a few years. And I can’t say it DIDN’T help.

    Stop signs with white around the edges are optional.

    There are three large mounds of dirt north of Rochester. Like flat topped hills. Rumor has it Babe, the Blue Ox, is buried there because the middle is the biggest and that’s the top of his head. The other two smaller hills are the tips of his horns.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I haven’t lived here long enough to know local legends, but here’s something that just surfaced in my brain: Last week or so CBS Sunday morning had showed stories about the 50th anniv. of Woodstock., and although Joni Mitchell’s song says there were half a million (close enough, estimates are around 450,000), the number of people who SAY they were at Woodstock is in the millions. (Possible blog post coming about this.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve been asking around trying to find someone I know in Rochester who was there. The closest I’ve found is my friend “M”, who says this: ” Woodstock was considered far too commercial for the serious alternative music group in San Francisco at the time. It was $ for the bands though so the bands went. In those days the Mt Tamalpais concert was the important one to have been to—- first “rock concert” ever, first time the Hells Angels transported bands up to the site, yada-yada. And we were there…. MUCH better than Woodstock. 😉”

      A few days later she followed up with this: “I’m listening to the PBS coverage of the spectacle of Woodstock, I think David Crosby really said it best when he talked about how you could forget for a moment the assassinations and the horrible war that was killing or destroying your friends and just live in the music. This is what San Francisco was all about then, we were so lucky to have that time there.

      It ended with Kent State, one of the most horrible crimes our country committed against its own people. That and the loss of MLK showed most of us how ephemeral our dreams were. “T” & I went from that into the Peace Corps and discovered what true poverty and debasement is throughout the world. We learned that you can’t “win”, you can only take one step at a time and try to keep your voice and actions true to respecting all humanity. ”

      Those are pretty sobering and smart words. Part of the reason we’ve always liked M and T.
      Ever heard of Mt. Tamalpais? I hadn’t.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep, I’ve been there. Rugged, beautiful area in Marin County across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could afford it. Dream on, PJ.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. i used to think urban legands were like big foot in the city and didn’t equate misunderstanding and misrepresentation as possible urban legands
    today i think donald trump is an urban legand there is really no proof he exists. i think russia made him up like cary grants character in charade where he happened upon a cia planted character that he couldn’t wrap his hands around. if the entire presidency were a faux presidency to get the worst possible people into offices like the dnr or the department of energy the supreme court and all federal judge positions , the office of homeland security and of defense attourney general and education wouldn’t it make more sense? surely the party in power wouldn’t stand for such brash appointments and burning all bridges if they thought they could be tied to irresponsible ambivilance to the rape of the american ethic based political model

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Some urban legends are disguised versions of prejudice. The last urban legend told to me offers an interesting example. In the 1980s people got seriously spooked about gangs and gang violence. A story went around that black youths had to kill a random white person as an initiation rite for getting in a gang. The story went on to say gang members would follow a car driven by a white, then cause a minor collision. When the white person left the car to examine the damage, the would-be gang member would shoot him. This story somehow fit the fears of the time, so it was passed along over and over.

    When I first heard about this story, I sensed that it was probably an urban legend. I checked it out on Snopes, confirming my doubts. Then a friend told me he was worried while driving on freeways because he didn’t want to become a victim of random gang violence. And he described the gang initiation story. What amazed me was that the friend who repeated this urban legend to me was a black guy. He grew up in southern Mississippi. I guess when he moved to Minnesota to teach junior high he acquired fears about urban blacks who seemed angry and dangerous to him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a similar story circulating that a common gang initiation is for gang members to drive around in at night a car with the headlights off. Then the person being initiated supposedly has to kill the first driver that blinks his headlights off and on again as an alert that their headlights are off.

      There’s no evidence that this has ever happened, but it’s a common enough story that someone might actually do this thinking that it’s been done before. So now people are spooked about it.


  7. True story, not a legend: a woman moved to the Boise area a few months ago and bought a house in a suburb. Last week her daughter and her boyfriend flew in to see her. Boyfriend got a call from his father about sunset. He went outside to talk to his father and not bother the others. Within five minutes a police car appeared. Cop asked him who he was and what he was doing. Boyfriend explained. Cop drove to end of block, turned around and came back to sit on opposite side of street and watched the boyfriend until he ended the conversation and went inside. He stayed a few minutes more. Mother is white, daughter is white. But boyfriend has a double whammy for the neighborhood. He is Haitian. He was speaking French to his diplomat father. Black and not speaking English.
    They were going to move to the area too. Would you?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. There were all sorts of rumors in our community at the start of the recent Oil Boom implicating new, male residents, especially Hispanic males, of all sorts of crimes, none of which were true. That has died down a lot, and now everyone seems to be coexisting.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. There is a landform north of where I live called the Killdeer Mountains , and at the top of one of the “mountains” (really huge, craggy buttes covered in trees) is an entrance to a cave called the Medicine Hole. It is a sacred to our local Indian tribes as a place to go for visions. Legend has it that during the 1864 Battle of the Killdeer Mountains, fought by US troops led by General Sully, and Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota Sioux tribes, some of the native peoples escaped the battle by going down the Medicine Hole. That has never been established as true, however. Sitting Bull was one of the native leaders.

    Sully attacked the groups camped at the site as a punishment for the Minnesota Sioux uprising, even though many of the Indians hadn’t participated in that and were not even from Minnesota.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. OT – I’m looking for recommendations of films/shows available on Netflix. Suggestions, anyone?

    Am willing to offer some in return. Recently saw a Danish (so sorry, subtitles) series called “Herrens Veje.” The first season was terrific, very worth watching, The second, a bit of a stretch for me.

    Also, just watched a film called “4L” on the recommendation of a friend. A wild and crazy romp through a lot of African desert, but with some really interesting characters.


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