Legends which are an important part of mythology and folklore have been popular since times immemorial though the truth of such stories cannot be verified. Urban legends are made up of modern stories that show some variations over a period of time but continue being popular in the community. Urban legends are significant by the fact that they continue being propagated as true stories though their truth cannot be verified. The term urban legends are used to differentiate from traditional folklore as their origin can be traced to the post-industrial period or contemporary times.
Urban legends also termed as urban myths are supposed to be true stories though they are not easy to believe and in most case its veracity cannot be proved. Urban legends originate almost spontaneously taking the form of a warning tale. They are circulated and propagated in the community from one person to another either verbally or through the written medium in the form of emails, fax, and photocopies and so on. At times the urban legend may be supposedly attributed to secondhand sources such as ‘my brother’s colleague’, ‘friend of a friend’ and thus continues to be circulated.
Various versions of the urban legend of sewer alligators in New York City have been doing the rounds since a long time. According to the popular version of the legend, many years back, pet alligators in New York City were flushed down the toilets which have resulted in the mutation of these creatures into huge albino alligators. Many urban legends surround the existence of regular alligators in other cities also though there is no element of truth in these stories. It may perhaps be the case that alligators may have escaped from captivation but that has not in any case resulted in a pandemic of albino alligators or otherwise in any of the sewer system in New York or other cities.
A popular urban legend that is in circulation suggests that Walt Disney’s body has been cryogenically frozen as per his wishes, after he died in 1966 from cancer. The idea being that his body could be injected to life in future with the help of advanced technical and medical know-how. The birth of this popular urban legend may be due to the fact that Walt Disney’s funeral was an extremely private affair as desired by him. There is no known evidence to suggest that Walt Disney’s body was not cremated but kept in a frozen state.
This popular Urban Legend has its roots in the old folklore which states that Mary Worth was executed because she was a witch but her ghost could be summoned by calling her out three times by which she would manifest in a mirror. A popular variation called the Bloody Mary is the urban legend in which , chanting the name Mary three times in front of a mirror placed in a candle lit room would make the witch Mary appear in the mirror and cause the death of the person who summons. This popular urban legend which is entrenched in modern folklore has been used in a number of movies such as the Candyman movie and Bloody Mary where the legend of chanting a name in to the mirror has been used in the plot.