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Author Topic: I'm writing a paper about ULs for my Public Speaking class
rsamboragal
I Saw Three Shipments


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...and I need some help!!! I figured this would be the BEST place to go! /buttkissing
One of my points in my speech is discussing why people believe these legends. Also, why do they insist on holding on to them as being true? I'm sure most if not all of you have encountered someone who refuses to believe that a legend is just that.
Thanks for the help all!!!

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Spam & Cookies-mmm
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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A lot of us believe things because our daddies told us it was true. You can't not believe your daddy.

When I was about 9 years old, my dad told me about the time that he was driving home for the weekend, and his tire went flat right in front of Chatahoochee's mental hospital ...

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violetbon
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Some people choose to believe them because they validate their own poorly thought out political/social/religious/ etc. viewpoint.
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lynnejanet
Happy Holly Days


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I think a lot of people choose to believe ULs because it lets them be a small part of the drama. Most ULs are great stories. I think a lot of people pass them along because they like to think that they are just a friend of a friend removed from an event that is hilarious, or threatening, or quirky.

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lynne"insert appropriate punny phrase here"janet

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HollowMan
Deck the Malls


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Some ULs show that you have knoweledge that others don't. (Did you know ducks quacks don't echo.)

Some ULs tap into peoples fears. (Careful when you check for change in soda machines.)

Some ULs are a pretty funny story. (Dude, you're never gonna believe what happened to my aunt's toothbrush on her trip to Mexico.)

And some ULs "are a good message even if they arent true." This kind pops up in glurge gallery all the time. Add that to all the things mentioned above, and you've got some pretty compelling reasons to believe ULs

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I got an idea... an idea so smart my head would explode if I even began to know what I was talking about.

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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Critical thinking's too bloody much like work.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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Schmidt-Haus
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm:
[QB] A lot of us believe things because our daddies told us it was true. You can't not believe your daddy.

How true this is, only 2 weeks ago I had a "heated debate" (more commonly known as an argument) with a colleague as his Dad had told him this and he refused to believe it was an UL, even after I contacted the local health authority who were happy to confirm that such an incident had never occurred in the city!
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lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


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People will also tend to personalise it, if a friend says it was his friends sister then the next teller will tell it as his friends sister, not his friend friends sister. People like to keep the story close to themselves.
I recently had as above a 'heated debate' with my wife over the fact her mother told her a friend at work had had the old cockroach eggs in a stamp had happened to her. I obviously showed her the story on snopes.
I questioned her further and it turned out to be the sister of the worker that her mother knew on questioning her mother I found out it was a colleague of the sister of the worker that she knew, I'm sure if I had continued down the line this could of gone on indefinitely.

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All the world's a face, And all the men and women merely acne.

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Spam & Cookies-mmm
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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So how's that speech coming along?

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rsamboragal
I Saw Three Shipments


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WOO HOO~ I actually found it!!!!!!! The term paper I wrote about 5 or 6 years ago about ULs!! I'm so excited!! I just hope that I still have everyone's permission to use their quotes! If not, I'll use the more current ones...
Tell me what you think: I do have to reword it a bit to make it conform to the format of a speech, but give me your constructive criticisms!

Introduction
Urban legends; they are a part of our culture as much as baseball and apple pie. They can make the most rational people turn into fanatics by taking outrageous claims and hoaxes and transforming them into seemingly logical happenings and consequence. What I find most intriguing and amazing about urban legend is the extent that people will go to to defend these fallacies. Why do people want to believe these blatant misrepresentations of truth? Some urban legends are as ridiculous as believing that the tooth fairy mows my lawn every Sunday night, yet people will blatantly lie to my face to try to convince me that the legend really REALLY happened! In order to answer the questions of why people cling so desperately to these farces, we must first answer another question: What exactly is an “urban legend”?


Defining Urban Legends
Urban legends are just what they sound like. They are stories that are passed down from one generation to the next. Most of them have some sort of warning attached to them (http://www.snopes2.com/spoons/legends/legends.htm) such as: know the person who is caring for your children, make sure you are aware of your surroundings or don’t mix pop rocks and soda. Okay, so maybe the pop rocks and soda thing is a bit out there, but people believed it. Here’s a lesson that everyone can learn from urban legend: Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.

Legend Terminology
Before I get into some of the actual legends, I should explain some of the terminology associated with them. First and foremost, you must know the meaning of the word “debunker”. This is a person who “debunks” or, exposes the urban legend for what it truly is. (www.dictionary.com) Most debunkers are very skeptical and will painstakingly research every bit of information that is ever thrown at them. I prefer to find debunkers who have done the research for me and then spread the truth to the chronic believers.
The next term used by debunkers is FOAF or “Friend of a Friend”. (Brunvard 19) This dreaded term is what makes debunkers work so hard to spread the news of the truth behind the legends. For a debunker, there is nothing worse than being told, “I know that this is true because my friend’s cousin’s dentist’s wife’s friend’s dad saw it on the news.” (Cringe, shudder.) Even typing the words makes my skin crawl, so let’s move on.
The third and final term that we will discuss is “bookachow!” This is the term that is gleefully shouted when a debunker finds information proving or disproving a claim. Now that we have discussed the language of the legends, let’s discuss some of the legends themselves.


The Legends
Most urban legends that I have come across are ones that have messages behind them that are, in and of themselves, practical. The legends themselves, however, are sometimes laughable. For instance, who hasn’t heard about the horrors of the big bad gang members who hide under cars to slash the Achilles’ tendons of unsuspecting shoppers who are innocently loading their groceries? (Roeper 37-8)This legend has been circulating since the 1950’s, however, no verifiable incidents of this happening has ever been reported. In this legend, the victims are always female, and the gang members are, of course, male. The poor helpless victims are robbed, dragged away and sexually assaulted, or the gang members drive off with the victim’s car. Sometimes, the reason behind the assault is gang initiation. See, the gang hopefuls have to bring a body part back to the gang to become initiated, so when the woman bends down and grabs her now sliced open ankle, the hopeful cuts off one of her fingers for his proof. (http://www.ulrc.com.au/html/report.asp)Now, back in the real world, any way you hear this legend, it is merely that. Let’s debunk. First of all, think about the proximity most undercarriages of cars are to the ground. It would be pretty darn difficult to be under a car and have enough room to slice someone’s ankles and get out from under the car before their screams alert passers by. Anyway, wouldn’t it be a better idea just to hide behind or in the car? Not to say that abductions and assaults haven’t happened in parking lots; which is where the message comes in: Always be aware of your surroundings. See how this is a round about way to educate someone? It’s like Aesop’s Fables in Hell. There are many Urban Legends in which gang members are trying to be initiated. For instance, there is the AIDS infected needle that is sat upon by an unsuspecting movie goer. Or the AIDS infected needle that pokes the finger of someone trying to dig their change out of the coin return on a payphone, (Roeper 39-40) not to mention when those naughty gang members put a mixture of LSD and strychnine on the buttons of payphones. (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/mayhem/payphon2.htm) First of all, AIDS cannot live outside of the body long enough for these tales to be true. The Center for Disease Control has a page on their web site debunking these legends as false and states that “(the) CDC is not aware of any cases where HIV has been transmitted by a needle-stick injury outside a health care setting.” (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/faq/faq5a.htm) Second, in real life, gang members are initiated by doing things that demonstrate their courage as well as their defiance of social norms. Putting “deadly” mixtures of LSD and strychnine on payphone buttons is hardly the way to do this. Plus, by the time this mixture dries, it wouldn’t do a whole lot to the phone users and would prove to be quite an expensive failure of a prank.
Speaking of LSD, how about the famous Beatle’s song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”? The claim is that the song’s title is a cunningly hidden tribute to the hallucinogen LSD. However, although John Lennon admitted that the songs lyrics were inspired by experiences he had during drug induced “trips”, the title’s relationship to the drug was a mere coincidence. The title actually came from a drawing by Lennon’s son, Julian, of a schoolmate named Lucy O’Donnel. (http://www.snopes.com/music/hidden/lucysky.htm) Even with the author debunking the legend, however, people still believed what they wanted to believe, which brings me to Don McLean and “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie”. Although this song is a kind of coded history of rock n’ roll about the plane crash involving Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper, there is no truth to the legend that the name of the plane which carried the artists to their untimely deaths was named “American Pie”. Actually the plane had no name. It was simply referred to as “N3794N”. When asked about the meanings behind the song’s lyrics, Don McLean stated, “If I told people what I meant, they'd just say, 'No you didn't.'" (www.snopes2.com/music/artists/amerpie.htm)
Not all urban legends involve people. There are many animal legends as well. For instance, the poor birds and their little explosive tummies are the misfortunate victims of a couple of legends. Most people know that it is no longer politically correct to throw rice at newlyweds as they exit the church. This is because the poor little birdies will eat the rice which will expand in their little tummies causing them to explode. Right? Wrong! In fact, the reason churches stopped allowing the tradition of rice throwing was because of injuries sustained from people slipping on the rice. Think about it. Walking on rice that is on church steps in hard soled shoes spells disaster. As far as the birdies are concerned, many wild birds eat out of rice fields at the end of the winter to fatten up for their journey back north. I’m sure the rice farmers would be joyful if these “thieves” would explode from stealing their crops, however, this simply does not happen.
Another myth regarding the birdies and their little tummies is that seagulls will explode if you feed them Alka-Seltzer. First of all, how would you go about getting a gull to eat the Alka-Seltzer? Second, it just doesn’t happen. Mixing pop rocks and soda will not make your stomach explode and exposing seagulls to Alka-Seltzer will not cause them to explode. .(http://www.snopes.com/weddings/horrors/birdrice.htm)
Now, on the flip side, some urban legends are actually true. For instance, there was an incident in Pebble Beach, California where a man by the name of Steve Barkley received a speeding ticket in the mail along with a photo radar picture of his car speeding. Apparently, Mr. Barkley has quite a sense of humor because he reportedly sent the Campbell Police Department a picture of forty-five dollars; the amount of his fine. Well, it seems that the Campbell Police Department also has a sense of humor because in response, they sent Mr. Barkley a picture of a set of handcuffs. (http://www.snopes.com/autos/law/handcuff.htm) Now, when a story like this comes along, it is most likely true, or at least it’s easy to find out if it is. With the name of the offender, the city he lives in, and the city he was issued the citation in, one can fairly easily trace the story and debunk it. Not all stories have a happy ending, though. There have been several instances where a couple has stayed in a hotel room and repeatedly complained to the manager about the awful smell in their room which turns out to be a decomposing body hidden in the box spring of their bed. (Ugh!) For example, on June 10, 1999, the body of 64-year-old Saul Hernandez was discovered inside the bed in Room 112 at the Burgundy Motor Inn in Atlantic City, New Jersey. A German couple had spent the night sleeping over the corpse, and it was their complaint to the manager about the smell in their room which led to the end of Mr. Hernandez’s “stay”. (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/gruesome/bodybed.htm)
Speaking of rotting corpses, the final legend I’ll share is one that is near and dear to my heart, not because it is particularly clever or anything, but because this is the one that most people will defend as being a true story. It’s the legend of the cooked bride. Now, there have been a couple different versions of this story, but they all end the same. Usually, it’s about a bride who wants to look good on her wedding day, so she goes from salon to salon, using their tanning beds to get the ultimate bronze skin. On the evening of the wedding, the groom notices a horrid smell coming from his new bride, so he rushes her to the emergency room where they discover that by doing all that tanning in one day; the poor bride has cooked her internal organs and has only a few months to live. A variation of this legend is where the victim is a girl who wants to look good for her prom. Now, what is so ridiculous about this tale is that yes, tanning is bad for your skin, same as sun exposure, HOWEVER, tanning beds WILL NOT cook your organs.(Brunvard 292-3) I promise on my raw kidneys this does not happen. The reason is, tanning beds, like sunlight, emit ultraviolet rays. They do not emit microwaves, which is what they would have to do in order to cook anything. (http://www.snopes2.com/horrors/vanities/tanbed.htm) Just to recap: this has never ever happened to anyone. It is physically impossible for ultraviolet rays to act as microwaves.
There are many more urban legends that are being passed around that were being passed along when I was a kid as well as when my mom was a kid and so on.

Sociological Reasoning

Why these fallacies keep going, I don’t know for sure, but I do have some theories. Some of these are my own; others are from people on the message boards at my favorite debunking website: www.snopes.com:
“Telling urban legends play on two important desires. First, people genuinely like to tell interesting “facts”; second, they like to feel knowledgeable. They feel important by spreading the myths either because they were told the story by someone they respected and/or trusted, or they found the story to be amazing. If someone else points out their errors, they will often justify their actions because no one likes being proven wrong.
When you first hear the story, you are completely amazed that such a thing has occurred. When told correctly, a good urban legend will have you on the edge of your seat. It is human nature to want to spread this feeling to others, and be the one who's got everyone waiting to hear how the story turns out.” – Bev H.
“It's a lot nicer to live in a world where one can believe there's an effective counter to every potential danger. You and I know that's not true, but obviously this notion gives people some small measure of comfort.” –Barbara Mikkelson
“1. Someone I trust told me it was true.
2. False-memory syndrome” – Debbie C.
Personally, I think it has a lot to do with two factors. The first, which was mentioned above, is that sometimes, legends are passed on from a parent to a child, or from someone who is trusted by the recipient, as a lesson to be careful. What’s so unique about this is that the parent or loved one themselves actually believe the legend as truth as opposed to telling a child something “just to scare him”.
The second reason is that no one wants to believe they have been “duped”. No one wants to be proven wrong. It’s very difficult to admit this especially when it is something you have believed for a long time.


Conclusion
Even though people get angry with me for revealing the truth, I’d still rather be the one debunking the legends than the one looking silly by passing it on. So, the next time you receive an outrageous e-mail that urges you to “pass it on to all the women you love”, do a little research and save face. There’s nothing worse, in my book, than looking like a moron. Well, except for maybe, dying from blue star tattoo poisoning, but that’s another story.
Works Cited
Brunvard, Jan Too Good To Be True. W.W. Norton and Co: New York, 1999.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Service. May 1, 2002.
Dictionary.com. Lexico LLC. 2002
Roeper, Richard Urban Legends. Career Press: Franklin Lanes, NJ, 1999.
Urban Legends Reference Pages. Barbara and Dave Mikkelson. 1995-2002.
Urban Legends Research Center. Lucas Redman. 1999-2001.

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rsamboragal
I Saw Three Shipments


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K, was it the length that scared everyone away or did I offend somehow????

[Frown]

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candycane from strangers
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Are you asking that because there have been no responses? Because I doubt there was offense taken, people are probably asleep (as I need to be) or have not checked back to this thread for various reasons.

Since I should have gone to sleeep a few hours ago I really need to now, but rest assured I will come back to the thread and read it tomorrow [Smile]

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I don't think you offended anyone, rsamboragal, but it is a little long to comb through. And no paragraphs. [Wink]

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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rsamboragal
I Saw Three Shipments


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I know it's long. Sorry. And the lack of paragraphs is because I just copied and pasted it from another program. Guess the formatting doesn't transfer. I just wanted to make sure I didn't do something wrong by posting it. [Smile] Well, whenever (if) anyone has time, I'm open to suggestions! Thanks again all! You guys are always a great help to me!

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Sylvanz
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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It is late here, and I admit I didn't read all of it, but you misused the term "bookachow." That term is peculiar to the snopes fora (as far as I know) and doesn't mean what you said it means. "Bookachow" means that something someone posted about has already been posted in the past and usually contains a link to the post that dealt with the issue originally. I hope that made sense I'm pretty tired and I can't seem to word it anymore clearly. I also think the "bookachow" word was derived from the noise Shaggy and Scooby made when they ran away from "monsters" or did I dream that? [Confused]

P&LL, Syl

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Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. — Voltaire

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rsamboragal
I Saw Three Shipments


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Yeah, I remember when I wrote that, I kinda pulled that on out of...well,...somewhere. I felt like I needed another "term"... So, yeah, I'll change that. Thanks for the comment!! [Smile]

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Wolf333
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by rsamboragal:
...and I need some help!!! I figured this would be the BEST place to go! /buttkissing
One of my points in my speech is discussing why people believe these legends. Also, why do they insist on holding on to them as being true? I'm sure most if not all of you have encountered someone who refuses to believe that a legend is just that.
Thanks for the help all!!!

I believe that most people have a desire to be at least a part of something wonderful, bizarre or noteworthy. Even if you had nothing to do with that multiple murder that happened in that house that is now haunted, it happened in your town and therefore you are connected to the legend, making you just a little bit special.
I'm going to base this solely on the midwestern experience, as that is where I was raised. You can go to any number of towns in south eastern Ohio, and everything was the same. The only thing that set Trinway apart from Crooksville or Roseville was that Trinway had the "Haunted Mansion," so Trinway was cool. It was one thing to say that you had been to Trinway Mansion, but if you lived a mile away and had seen odd goings on...
Urban legends give people a sense of danger, whithout experiencing any danger.
Here is the haunted mansion. It used to be surrounded by a cornfield, and we would watch "Children Of The Corn" and then sneak in.

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rsamboragal
I Saw Three Shipments


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Hey all! Just wanted to let you all know that I gave my speech today and it went really well! Unfortunately, I forgot to spit my gum out before giving the speech...so, of course, the only bad comments I got were to spit my gum out before giving a speech. heh. OOps. Well, at least they enjoyed the topic etc.
Thanks again for all the input!!! [Smile]

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