How urban legends work

While reading Craughwell's book, I realized that I have been the victim of urban legends at work. Someone sometimes me has taken a legend as truth, acted on it, and had it end badly. Understanding what is legend and what is truth can help when managing IT and other work. Here are three urban legends I've encountered at work and how they either backfired on me or caused me grief when trying to manage projects.

How urban legends work

In the past 10 years, there has been a huge surge of urban legends on the Internet. The most common venue is forwarded e-mail. This storytelling method is unique because usually the story is not reinterpreted by each person who passes it on.

Having the original story gives e-mail legends a feeling of legitimacy. Forwarded e-mail legends are often the work of one or more pranksters, not the product of many different storytellers.

For these authors, the thrill is seeing how far a legend will spread. As with word-of-mouth legends, there are all sorts of e-mail hoaxes. Cautionary legends are very common in e-mail forwards, often focusing on made-up computer viruses or Internet scams.

A similar sort of e-mail legend is the charity or petition appeal, which outlines a good cause or a horrible miscarriage of justice and then instructs you to add your name to a petition and send it on to everybody you know. There are real e-mail petitions, of course, and these do help out good causes.

How urban legends work

It can be tricky to spot a hoax, but one indicator is that the e-mail includes no address to send the list to when it is completed. Additionally, if a message begins with "This is not a hoax or urban legend," it probably is.


One of the most famous e-mail legends, the Neiman Marcus cookie recipecombines a great story with an appeal to fight injustice. The e-mail is a personal account of a mother and her daughter eating at a Neiman Marcus store. After their meal, they order a couple of Neiman Marcus chocolate cookies, which they enjoy immensely.

The mother asks the waitress for the recipeand is told that she can buy it for "two-fifty.

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In order to exact revenge on the company, the mother claims in the e-mail, she has decided to distribute the recipe freely over the Internet, and she encourages you to send it to everyone you know. Amazingly, this story has been around in various forms since the s.

In the s, the overcharging company was Mrs. No matter how much "information technology" we develop, human beings will always be drawn in by the unsubstantiated rumor. In fact, information technology actually accelerates the spread of tall tales.

How urban legends work

By definition, urban legends seem to have a life of their own, creeping through a society one person at a time. And like a real life form, they adapt to changing conditions. It will always be human nature to tell bizarre stories, and there will always be an audience waiting to believe them.

The urban legend is part of our makeup.A Summary of “How Urban Legends Work” Have you ever heard of the urban legend “Bloody Mary”, where you stand in the bathroom with the lights off and the room completely dark and chant “Bloody Mary” 13 times in the mirror a woman will appear and kill you.

In the article “How Does Urban Legends work” by Tom Harris, he states that an urban legend is any modern, fictional story, told as truth that reaches a wide audience by being passed from person to person. Are urban legends true or false? Tom Harris stated in his article that most urban legends are not real.

Nov 22,  · Urban Legends About Organ Harvesting And Vaccinations Have Led To Killings Of Medical Volunteers 1. The Rumor That Gum Stays In Your Digestive Tract For .

What is an urban legend? Can an urban legend be true? Are there any local urban legends popular where you live? But what about urban legends that might only be popular where you live? Are there any local urban legends you're aware of? How Does Bitcoin Work? # Who Was the Buddha? × Spread the Joy of Wonder.

GET YOUR WONDER DAILY. The methods of passing urban legends have evolved over time.

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In the past 10 years, there has been a huge surge of urban legends on the Internet. The most common venue is forwarded e-mail. In this article, we'll look at urban legends to see what they are, where they come from and why they spread so quickly.

We'll also explore some ideas regarding the social significance of urban legends, as well as take a look at how the stories have changed over the years.

Urban Legends (At Work)