Urban legends have long been a part of modern day culture. There are many urban legends and there is not anyone who has not been touched in some way by an urban legend. Whether the person has told an urban legend, heard an urban legend, or been influenced by modern day media or movies like the 1998 Urban Legends. Urban legends have long since been around as part of the modern history of many different countries. They are not prevalent in one society but they do change depending on which society they are a part of.
Urban legends have many sides there is the “scholarly” side, popular side and the commercial side which all can be looked at (Brunvand xxi-xxxiv). The scholarly side to urban legends includes many facets including the fact that urban legends address concerns of the times. For instance www. Snopes. com discusses that urban legends of modern times often occur in places like the mall and they involve modern scares and worries like AIDS.
Take for instance the urban legends of “AIDS Harry” or “AIDS Mary” which is when someone is out on vacation having a great time and deliberately spreading AIDS to those who they are out to conquest in revenge against the opposite sex for them having AIDS in the first place. Many people have heard these stories however it is doubtful that there have really been men or women who have set out with a goal in their mind to infect as many members of the opposite sex with AIDS as possible (Brunvand 5-7).
The scholarly side of this tale is that AIDS is an epidemic that puts fear in the majority of those in modern day society. Therefore the idea of someone purposely trying to cause harm to others through the transmission of AIDS is a way to try and control those fears and to put aside the real risks that are involved with the AIDS epidemic. Not only is there a scholarly side to the urban legend but there is also the popular side to the urban legend. The popular side to urban legends is that nearly everyone has heard an urban legend at some point in his life.
The idea that someone can think that they can go by untouched to this is a testament as to how popular some urban legends truly are. For instance everyone has heard the urban legend about the pregnant shoplifter. The one where a woman is detained by police and it is later found out that she is not pregnant but concealing goods under her shirt. There have even been news articles written about this one and yet it is all an urban legend. When researched it was not possible to find someone who had actually committed this crime (Brunvand 329-330, 332).
The urban legend has long been popular and thanks to the popularity of the urban legend it has also become marketable and therefore urban legends have a commercial side. The commercial side of urban legends is that products including movies, books, television shows and so much more can be marketed and sold about urban legends. There have been many movies recently made about urban legends. In 1998 the movie Urban Legend was released and was the first in a three movie series that also contained the 2000 Urban Legends: Final Cut and 2003’s Urban Legends: Bloody Mary.
There have also been many books written on the topic of urban legends and many newspaper articles as well as articles in magazines and journals (Brunvard). Just what is the fascination with urban legends and modern-day society? Urban legends are not going to be going anywhere as they have been around for a long time. Urban legends give the reader/viewer/watcher a way to answer a question and express a fear that has often plagued them. Just how urban legends originally began can not be answered as the original urban legends were folklore and told by storytellers through word of mouth.
Today urban legends are able to be processed more quickly though the media and the internet as modern day technology has given many new resources for being able to spread the word on questionable and hard to answer events. The urban legend has many sides including the scholarly side, the popular side and the commercial side.
Brunvand, Jan Harold. Encyclopedia of Urban Legends. New York: WW Norton and Company, 2001. Mikkelson, Barbara and David P. “What are Urban Legends? ” Urban Legends Reference . 1995-2009. Snopes. 21 February 2009. <http://www. snopes. com/info/ul-def. asp>