Thursday, April 23, 2009

Urban Legends

I can remember the first time I ever heard an urban legend. My sister had the honor of being the teller. She probably heard it from her friends and knew it was just a fun ghost story and figured she'd tell her brother (four years her junior) to give him nightmares. I was pretty young at the time, and the fact that I can still remember the moment she told it to me is proof it must have worked.

It was one about a hitchhiker. Some guy picks up some girl late at night on a road. They talk a little and the woman seems strange and quiet and very very pale. At some point the man looks back and she's gone. I'm sure my sister added some emphasis to that last part - "AND SHE WAS GONE!!!!" At which point I'm sure I must have said "That didn't happen!" to cover my fear. To which I'm SURE she must have replied - "I know the person it happened to! He called the police and they told him it happens all the time on that road!" And I'm sure that was sufficient documented proof for my young mind to accept the story as fact.

I am surrounded at work by people who believe every email they get - the ones that usually end with "Send this email to everyone you know." I've become the guy, checking out these obviously fake stories and letting people know they're morons (in a nice way) for believing them. I was looking at this morning and saw this little gem and it reminded me about my evil sister and my first urban legend:

During the war a soldier faithfully wrote his mother every week so she would know he was all right. One week she didn't get a letter and immediately began to worry.
A couple of weeks later, she got a letter from the Army saying that her son had been captured and was being held in a Prisoner-of-War camp. They assured her that they had no reason to believe the American prisoners were being mistreated in any way.
A few weeks later the woman finally received another letter from her son, it read: "Dear Mom, Try not to worry about me, they are treating us well and I'll be released as soon as the war is over. Make sure that little Teddy gets the stamp for his collection. Love you, Joe"
The woman was overjoyed to hear the news, but was confused because she had no idea who "little Teddy" was. She decided to steam the stamp from the envelope and have a look. When she did she saw that written on the back of the stamp were the words:
"They've cut off my legs".


Anonymous said...


NecroBones said...

People around here know better than to send me chainletters and the like. Mostly. :)

ShellHawk said...

I actually heard a variation of the Hitchhiker story on an Alfred Hitchcock LP I had as a kid. Except, instead of telling him the dead girl was his daughter, he takes the man to her grave, where the sweater he loaned her for her chills is halfway buried in her plot.
Remember the old adage, " Show, don't tell!"
Good piece!

NoahFentz said...

I always loved the story about "the Beast" in the movie Sandlot. Especially when the story teller ends it with, "fore-ev-or, fore-ev-or, FORE-EV-OR....Antime we tell a story the kids and I always end it that way.

Jon Glassett said...

Great job matching the image to the story.

Also, that closing urban legend is fantastic. I'd love to have an idea that cool.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rot said...

Man, I just don't understand the logic behind someone asking me to take down a credited photo. Isn't more traffic ALWAYS a good thing?

I don't get it.

It happens a LOT on my blog too.

bean said...

Yea, it's only 2:30 and already you've had 700 blog hits. That's good publicity for folks.

Oh well, no bad intentions.

Rot said...

I deleted the photo as requested.
And the photographer's comment.

Anonymous said...

i am originally from altoona pa and we had the "lady in white" urban legend. you would not believe how many people would try to get "the ghost" to appear!
dang! i didnt get to see the photo and comment! if you gave him/her credit, whats the big deal?

Jon Glassett said...

I missed the photographer's comment but I can assume it was something less than amiable. I can understand wanting to protect one's work to a degree. Not necessarily to that degree, but to a degree.

Oh, well.

Grim said...

That's funny, I'm the snopes guy for my family and friends too. I'm always ruining all of their false worries.

JHMDF said...

Hehe, I have had a bunch of credited pictures removed from my site recently for a few different reasons...It always sucks.