There are so many legends that get passed down through generations,which have a unique way of captivating and entertaining us. While some are still believed to be true, others have been thoroughly debunked through the years.
So, here are 20 of the most famous urban legends:
1.The Kidney Thieves
This urban legend may be one of the most well known of all urban legends. While there are many different versions of the story, each tale contains the same points: A male or female travels out of town for business and hooks up with a stranger who drugs them. They wake up hours later in a tub of ice to find stitched up incisions in their side where their kidneys were once located. The stranger steals the kidneys to sell on the black market for transplants. However, the story is not true.
Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore that according to the legend, was a highly skilled archer. He was also said to rob from the rich and give to the poor. Robin Hood became a popular folk figure in the late medieval period and continues to be a legend today.
There was believed to be an island that existed approximately 9,600 years ago. The Ancient Greeks also thought this city to be holy and believed that it used to lie beyond the Pillars of Hercules. According to legend, it sunk due to volcanic eruption. The location was thought to be in the Mediterranean Sea or Atlantic Ocean. However, according to research, there was never such an island.
Lady Godiva was an English noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked, covered only in her long hair, through the streets of Coventry to gain remission of the oppressive taxation that her husband imposed on his citizens. In fact, the name “Peeping Tom” originates from a man named Thomas who watched her ride and was struck blind or dead.
El Dorado was the term used by the Spanish Empire to describe a mythical tribal chief of the native people of Colombia, who, as an initiation, covered himself with gold dust and submerged into a lake. However, the legends surrounding El Dorado have changed over time, as he it went from being a man, to a city, to a kingdom, to an empire.
The Amityville Horror is a book written by Jan Anson and was published in 1977. It is also a basis of a series of movies released since 1979. The book is claimed to be based on paranormal activities and experiences of the Lutz family, but has led to much controversy and lawsuits over its falsities.
7. The Dissolving Coca Cola Tooth
There are so many legends about Coca Cola, they are often known as “Colklore”. However, the most popular one is that if you leave a tooth in a cup of coke overnight, the tooth would be completely dissolved by morning. Of course, this legend is also completely untrue.
8.Mr. Rogers was a Navy Seal
Legend has it that thechildren’s late television show host Mr. Rogers was a tattoo-wearing Navy Seal. However, Mr. Rogers was never a Navy Seal, never served in the military, and did not have any tattoos.
9.The Vanishing Hitchhiker
The vanishing hitchhiker is an urban legend where people traveling by vehicle meet with or are accompanied by a hitchhiker who vanishes without any explanation, often while the vehicle is moving. This story has been told for centuries and across the world in many versions.
10.The Gordian Knot
The Gordian Knot is a legend of Phrygian Gordiumassociated with Alexander the Great. When Gordian became King, he tied his cart to a tree using a special knot. It was prophesized that the first man who opened the knot would become the new king. Alexander entered the city and sliced the knot with his sword and became king.
Now, the phrase“to cut the Gordian knot” has come to mean to solve a difficult problem with a bold stroke.
11.The Hook Man
As the legend of the Hook Man has been told, a teenage boy drives his date to Lovers’ Lane for a make-out session before it is time to take her home. The place is dark and deserted. The boy turns on the radio and the couple starts kissing when the music stops mid-song, and a radio announcer warns of a convicted killer on the loose. However, the story is obviously a legend that has been shared in many different versions.
12.The Halloween Hanging
According to the Halloween Hanging legend, a Halloween stunt goes horribly wrong and hangs a man for real. A death by hanging is often displayed in a spooky decorative scene during Halloween where the victim is secured in a harness that supports his weight when he drops from the gallows so that the noose doesn’t actually snap his neck or constrict his windpipe. However, this particular legend has turned out to be true on more than one occasion. Such stunts have gone wrong and resulted in actual deaths.
13.The September 11th Tourist
The 9/11 tourist guy is still an Internet sensation, which consists of a photograph of a tourist on September 11, 2001, wearing dark glasses, a dark cap, whose picture was captured as a jetliner was heading into the building in which he was standing. However, it was just a hoax as the photo had been altered.
Yamashita’s gold, also known as Yamashita treasure, is the alleged war loot stolen in Southeast Asia by Japanese forces during World War II and hidden in caves, tunnels, and underground complexes in the Philippines. The treasure is name for the Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita, or the “Tiger of Malaya”. While the accounts that the treasure remains hidden in the Philippines have drawn treasure hunters from all over for the past few decades, most experts dismiss its existence.
15.The Creepy Clown Statue
Clowns. While some people like them, most others hate them. The creepy clown statue story falls into a scary category and has been circulated around for over a decade. Though the legend has never been proven to be factual, there are stories of killer clowns that are indeed based on fact.
There are variations of the creepy clown statue story, butone began with a chain letter that circulated online in 2006. It was about a babysitter who finds herself in a house with a scary statue of a clown that ends up murdering her and the two children she is watching. And, in the story, it turns out that the clown is a killer that had escaped from jail.
While some people believe this story to be true, it’s just a myth.
16.Walt Disney’s Body Cryogenically Frozen
One famous urban legend about Walt Disney is that his body was cryogenically frozen. The story seems to have begun in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, when there was a boom in interest in the futuristic science of freezing bodies.
Bob Nelson, a former TV repairman, became president of the California Cryogenics Society in 1966—the same year Walt Disney died. Nelson seemed to have helped fuel the story by claiming in a 1972 Los Angeles Times story that Disney wanted to be frozen.
However, the legend itself has been thoroughly debunked by Disney biographers.
17. Crybaby Bridge
Crybaby Bridge is a nickname given to some bridges in the U.S. It is based on a legend that a sound of a baby or a young child can be heard, or has been heard from the bridge. States that are claimed to have crybaby bridges include: Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, Maryland, and South Carolina.
However, in 1999, Maryland folklorist Jesse Glass presented a case against crybaby bridges being folklore, arguing that they were instead fakelore that was knowingly being propagated through the Internet. According to Glass, nearly identical stories of crybaby bridges in Maryland and Ohio began to appear online in 1999, but they could not be confirmed through local oral history or by the media.
Sewer alligator stories have been dated back to the 1920’s and 1930’s and have also become a contemporary legend. These stories are based on reports of alligator sightings in unusual locations, New York City, in particular. The legend was that New Yorkers vacationing in Florida would bring back baby alligators for the children to raise as pets. But the baby gators would eventually grow and so the owners would flush them down the toilet to get rid of them. Some of these gators survived the sewer system and produced colonies. However, the story is complete folklore.
A 2-foot alligator was caught in 2010 by the NYPD in the sewer in Queens. But, it is unlikely that a grown adult could survive very long in New York due to cold winter temperatures.
King Arthur is a legendary British leader who led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries A.D. The details of Arthur’s story are mainly composed of folklore and literary creation, and his historical existence is even debated by modern historians and scholars.
20.The Fountain of Youth
The Fountain of Youth is a legendary spring that supposedly restores youth of anyone who drinks of its water. Tales of such a fountain have been retold across the world for thousands of years. However, the legend became particularly popular in the 16th century, when the story was attached to the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce De Leon. He was supposedly searching for the Fountain of Youth in Florida. Even though it was only a myth, St. Augustine, Florida is now the home to the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, a tribute to the spot where Ponce de Leon is traditionally said to have landed.