Urban Legends That Turn Out To Be True

I love Snopes, but every now and then it bursts my bubble by providing evidence that what I thought was an urban legend actually is true. It happened again today. I have always maintained there were no actual incidents of children finding razor blades in apples on Halloween, it was all a myth. Well, today I read in Snopes that there is a long list of verified incidents of children finding foreign objects in Halloween goodies, including razors in apples.

Have you ever had a similar experience, gone to Snopes and been surprised to learn that a so-called urban myth was no myth after all?

Snopes concluded that Halloween razor blades/poisonings are overblown and rarely happen, I thought?

They say that they’re usually pranks, and that people are rarely hurt from razor blades/pins.

And the poisonings one definitely points out that they were either overblown or an attempt to cover up for something else.

“Overblown and rarely happen”. True, I read that. But I had been telling people for years that they had NEVER happened. As Snopes says, there is some basis for this urban legend.

In the butt, Bob.

IIRC the Halloween candy stuff has happened and though rare, it almost always is/was an inside job. The first cite mentions parents as hoaxers…I heard they were trying to hurt their own kids. Years ago, I heard (possibly a “rural legend,” given the size of my home town) that the hospital was x-raying kids’ candy as a public service.

I always thought this show was cool:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyond_Belief:_Fact_or_Fiction

They’d show a story, then ask the viewer to guess whether it was legend or really happened.

Damn! That’s another one I’ve argued was an urban legend.

One for the “I wish I hadn’t learned that” file: Not only was the UL about the people finding a dead body in their hotel box springs true…it apparently happens ALL THE TIME!!! Yikes! http://www.snopes.com/horrors/gruesome/bodybed.asp

Whether something is true or not has no bearing on whether it is a legend or not. Something doesn’t stop being an urban legend just because it’s true. What matters is how it is spread and changes to fit specific intentions of the teller.

But if some urban legends are in fact true, it changes the whole meaning of urban legend.

Pretty close,the actual epi is clearly the spot remembered although details had changed over the years.

Dan’s arguing from the academic sense of the term. As wikipedia says, for a person who studies folklore, “An urban legend or urban myth is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories thought to be factual by those circulating them. The term is often used to mean something akin to an “apocryphal story.” Like all folklore, urban legends are not necessarily false, but they are often distorted, exaggerated, or sensationalized over time.”

Like “myth”, the word doesn’t mean to academics what it means to the layperson (ie, a falsehood).

No, it just means you never knew the actual meaning in the first place.

Also, sometimes an incident that resembles an old urban legend actually happens, but only because someone who has heard the legend decides to make it true.

Not all the time. Studies indicate that only 38% of hotel box springs contain a dead body. So the odds are actually in your favor.

That would make sense, that’s usually the real motive behind mass poisoners as well.

Cracked online magazine is featuring just this topic right now, urban legends that are really true.

I’m not sure if it’s a subset of ULs but very often, they’re cautionary tales. E.g. the one about the psycho killer with a hook for a hand who gets loose from the state mental facility. Meanwhile a very young couple is out parking and they hear something. They tear out of there and when the guy gets to her house he goes to open her door and finds a bloody hook in the door.

Like “Hansel and Gretel,” at least some ULs are made to scare kids straight. Once I got older, I figured they were perpetuated by adults who knew better…yeah they may be as phony as ghost stories but did you see the expression on little Billy’s face?

Pseudo-ostension for the win! :smiley:

True. You could make good money that way if you had access to lots of hotel rooms. It would even make a good game show.

“You can make $1000 if you choose to play. No one from this show has looked in this motel room at all. Is there a dead body in those box springs?”

Audience: “Clap, clap, clap. Go for it!”

Contestant: “I’ll play.”

The mattress is lifted.

Host: “There is!. She must have been a hooker but she was still quite the looker.”

Audience: “Clap, clap, clap.”

Contestant: “Jump, jump, jump. Let’s go another round”

Repeat

That show was utter crap. I first read the Dreamhouse story in a book of traditional British folklore published in the 70s. Beyond Belief set the story in California in the 80s and said it really happened.