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... not a circus act

Archduke Franz Ferdinand And His Astounding Death Car
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 7, 2013 - 24 comments

a complete history of gerbiling so far

Gerbil-stuffing, urban legends, celebrity gossip, and homophobia: Jane Hu in The Awl with A Complete History Of Gerbiling So Far. [more inside]
posted by flex on Jan 2, 2013 - 70 comments

Now You Know Who to Blame for Ruining Your Halloween

Ronald Clark O'Bryan: The Man Who Ruined Halloween, the source of the urban legends about random Halloween poisonings and sadism
posted by jonp72 on Oct 26, 2012 - 71 comments

Things that will haunt you

Do you like creepy things? Lucia Peters has written an amazing series on "Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren’t" exploring Internet-age urban legends and carefully constructed hoaxes. From the world of underground video games that drive you mad, there is Killswitch and Majora's Mask. If you like modern takes on monsters, there is The Slender Man (who appears in Marble Hornets and EverymanHybrid), The Rake, and This Man. Horrible conspiracies can be found in the Indian Lake Project, the Montauk Project, and the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Haunted objects can be found in The Hands Resist Him and the Dybbuk Box. And, if you like little bits of creepypasta horror stories, check out Candle Cove and the Dionaea House. Be warned, even though this stuff isn't real (right?) there are often unsettling pictures and videos in these links. Now, I think I am going to go take a walk in the sun....
posted by blahblahblah on Jan 13, 2012 - 112 comments

Halloween and the Black Cat: Superstition as Urban Legend?

Were black cats ever in danger during Halloween? For the past decade or more, animal shelters have been holding back their black cats at Halloween, for fears of obsessed youths sacrificing them in ritualistic slaughter (or other cruelties, some involving duct tape). Some experts say it's a myth, or an urban legend with no basis in fact. The origins of the idea are often cited as ancient influence.
posted by Brian B. on Oct 19, 2008 - 46 comments

"That's 35 *weather balloons*" "Uh" *Weather balloons!*" "Uhh, roger!"

In 1982 "Lawnchair" Larry Walters tied about 40-45 4' helium-filled weather balloons to a Sears lawnchair and launched himself from San Pedro, California to rise to over 16,000 feet. Here is the audio recording of the CB communications of that flight, available with much more information from this page via markbarry.com.
(Warnings: Audio is Real Audio - use Real Alternative. First half of audio may contain recordings of extremely panicked and strident girlfriend.)
posted by loquacious on Dec 23, 2006 - 31 comments

The Viking horned helmet myth

Contrary to popular belief, Vikings did not wear horned helmets, if the Viking Answer Lady is to be believed. Apparently, the whole kerfuffle was instigated at least in part by these guys.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jun 6, 2006 - 28 comments

This just in: Jane Fonda is eating babies in North Korea

Operation Barbarella - from the London Review of Books, a review of Jane Fonda’s War: A Political Biography of an Anti-war Icon by Mary Hershberger.
So, what is the story behind Jane Fonda? You will find few people so reviled among macho warrior types. Back in the Depressingly Christian Private School (DCPS) that I went to, to hear some of the things she had been accused of you'd have thought she was the Whore of Babylon herself.
The truly interesting thing about this article isn't the discussion of the reality of Fonda's anti-war protesting measured against the myth, but as an illustration of the kind of pass-it-along info, whose truth is a matter of almost-scriptural faith, that serves as the conventional wisdom concerning the Left in the ill-educated backwaters that compose so much of our nation. This kind of thing is the political equivilent of the story of the midget who hanged himself on the set of The Wizard of Oz.
Additional reading: the Snopes page on Jane Fonda.
Via Linkfilter.
posted by JHarris on Nov 13, 2005 - 34 comments

It's not made of Testicles. Sorry.

Red Bull Gives You Wings! But not if you're a rat. If you're a rat, it makes you suddenly jump in your cage and mutilate yourself. Or at least, the taurine it contains does. The CBC has put together a ridiculously in-depth analysis of Red Bull looking at everything from the ingredients to the approval issues to the cultural impact the "energy drink" has had. The beverage has it's share of supporters and detractors, and the story is nothing new, so is there any legitimate concern about its effects, or is this viral marketing gone mad? Regardless, it looks like they'll soon have some serious competition.
posted by loquax on Feb 7, 2005 - 47 comments

That rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide!

The Bunny Man. Never mind the witch...here's the D.C. region's other scary legend (Washington Post).

Insist upon the original. Accept no substitutes. Read label carefully. Effectiveness not guaranteed.
posted by LinusMines on Oct 31, 2003 - 10 comments

The next ultimate "where were you?" question?

The next ultimate "where were you?" question? According to Tecumseh’s Curse, every U.S. President elected in a year ending in zero will die in office from natural causes or otherwise. This beg's the question "Where will you be when Bush dies?"[via cam]
posted by DragonBoy on Jan 30, 2001 - 17 comments

Watch an urban legend work its magic!

Watch an urban legend work its magic! First, read the post at the top of the page, then SCROLL DOWN AND READ THE COMMENTS.
posted by grumblebee on Sep 29, 2000 - 18 comments

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