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Urban legends, also known as urban myths or contemporary legends, are the widely disseminated, unproven stories of scary or peculiar events. They are an important part of popular culture because they offer insight into the fears and even the state of society. Every country has its own urban legend to tell. According to experts, such stories aren’t easily verifiable because they are usually passed on by word of mouth. They often invoke the famous “it happened to a friend of a friend.”
Nonetheless, urban legends are exciting to listen to. In American folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand’s book, "The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings,” he asserted, "The lack of verification in no way diminishes the appeal that urban legends have for us. We enjoy them merely as stories, and tend to at least half-believe them as possibly accurate reports."
The following are the most popular urban legends around the world.
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Bloody Mary is one of the most famous urban legends of all time. She is an apparition that may be benign or malevolent, depending on historic variations of her. It is believed that Bloody Mary will appear in a mirror when her name is chanted repeatedly. If the chant is properly done, you will see a ghost or a woman covered in blood. Usually, her appearances are “witnessed” in group participation play. It is known that Bloody Mary is a real person but her true identity is still up for debate.
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The story of La Llorona (“The Wailing Woman”) is one of the best-known spook stories that have come out of Mexico. Recently, this urban legend became the subject of a horror movie. It was believed that La Llorona drowned her children and herself because her husband left her. Now, she spends her time wandering as a ghost, crying and looking for her children. According to the legend, anyone who comes near her will meet the same fate as her children.
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The Slender Man
The Slender Man originated as a creepypasta internet meme. He is described as a thin, unnaturally tall humanoid with a featureless head and face. According to The Active Times, an online site that aims to be the world's best source of authoritative, inspiring, enlightening content for living the active, adventurous life, the Slender Man hides in the woods waiting to snatch his victims. This urban legend has made the news a few years ago when a 12-year-old stabbed her classmate, claiming that she did it because of the Slender Man.
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The Black-Eyed Kids
This urban legend has been circulating since the mid-1990s. The black-eyed kids are described as children who have jet black eyes without any pupil. They have pale skin or a death pallor and wear normal clothes or white nightgowns. The story started when journalist Brian Bethel was asked for a ride home by two children. He almost agreed until he noticed that their eyes were completely black and had no pupils or irises. Since then, other people also claimed that they have encountered the black-eyed kids.
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Robert the Doll
Robert the doll is not an ordinary toy that you expect. It is believed that he has caused car accidents, broken bones, divorce, job loss, and other misfortunes. According to an article by The Travel, a vacation destination on the web, the doll was originally given to a young boy named Robert Eugene Otto in 1904. As of now, it is displayed in a museum in Florida. According to the legend, anyone who visits and disrespects the doll will be met with misfortune. It is also claimed that it can move or make different facial expressions.
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Cropsey of Staten Island
The story of Cropsey is one urban legend that happened to be true. For a long time, Cropsey was described as a boogeyman-like figure that hides in the dark and snatches up children. This urban legend is often used by parents to keep their kids from misbehaving and running away. Unfortunately, Cropsey is a real person named Andre Rand who escaped from a mental institution. He was a janitor who worked at the school before it closed in 1987. He was suspected of kidnapping children and was found guilty of the crime in 1988 and 2004.
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The Bunny Man
Unlike many urban legends, this one is also based on real events. According to an article by Mental Floss, an online magazine and its related American digital, print, and e-commerce media company focused on millennials, the Bunny Man is an escaped mental patient who wears a rabbit costume and attacks people with an ax or hatchet, and he has turned out to be real. This was proven by a couple who reported seeing a man dressed in a white suit and wearing bunny ears who shouted at them
back in 1970. After two weeks, he was also seen wielding a hatchet and chipping away at a porch railing.