Books about Urban Legends
 
General Audience

The Big Book of Urban Legends
The Big Book of Urban Legends: For the first time, some 200 of the most popular urban legends have been gathered together in a single volume and hilariously interpreted by nearly 200 of today's most popular comic artists.

They're all here: from standards like "The Microwaved Pet" and "Alligators in the Sewer" to campfire classics like "The Hook" and "The Roommate's Death." But while you may have heard these stories countless times, you've never seen them like this!

The Vanishing Hitchhiker: The noted folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand has written the first book about one of the most common forms of contemporary folklore -- the urban legend. All of the major legends are fully discussed, from teenage horror stories like "The Hook" and "The Boyfriend's Death" to spoofs of adult foibles like The Solid Cement Cadillac" and "The Nude Surprise Party." Each of the eight chapters is followed by an extensive bibliography. To aid the beginning folklore student, the author also provides a glossary of terms in urban legend study and an appendix of detailed suggestions on how to collect and analyze legend texts.
The Vanishing Hitchhiker

The Choking Doberman
The Choking Doberman: One of America's leading folklorists, Jan Harold Brunvand, examines further the phenomenon of urban legends -- oral accounts of improbable events that never happened quite "that way" to all those people, but are told as true (often attributed to a "FOAF" -- friend of a friend) and embellished with local detail.

Among the forty or more new legends (most current and still widely told) included are "The Baby on the Roof," "The Elephant that Sat on a VW," and "The Stuck Couple," their themes ranging from cars to contamination, from sex to faulty appliances.

The Mexican Pet: The Mexican Pet (1986) is folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand's third book on contemporary legends, this one primarily a collection of texts (of urban legends both old and new) as they were currently circulating in the broadcast and print media.
The Mexican Pet

Curses! Broiled Again!
Curses! Broiled Again!: From the master folklorist and sly wit, Jan Brunvand, comes a collection of all-new urban legends. Did your cousin's wife's dentist's daughter tell you about her best friend who went to the tanning parlor once too often and had her insides cooked (the title story)? Has your husband's brother's nephew told you the story about the lady who tried to make a dead rabbit look alive ("The Hare Drier")? If so, you've heard -- or you yourself may have told -- two of the seventy-plus legends in this collection.

The Baby Train: America's premiere folk detective is back on the case, sniffing out those zany but dubious stories that "really happened" to a friend of your sister's boyfriend's accountant's mechanic. Jan Harold Brunvand -- "Mr. Urban Legend" -- tracks the most fabulous tales making today's cocktail-party circuit and shows why those stories that sound too good to be true probably are too good to be true. From "Superhero Hijinx" to "The Shocking Videotape" to "The Accidental Cannibal," The Baby Train uncovers the mysteries behind some of the bawdiest, goriest, funniest, most pyrotechnic urban legends yet.
The Baby Train

Too Good to Be True
Too Good to Be True: A fabulously entertaining book from the ultimate authority on those almost believable tales that always happen to a "friend of a friend." In Too Good to Be True Brunvand captures the best stories in their best retellings, along with their latest variations and examples of how the stories have changed as they move from person to person and place to place. To help you find your favorite, Brunvand has arranged the tales thematically. Whether you want to become an expert debunker or just have plenty of laughs, this book will surprise and entertain you.

The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story!: In this lively and engaging book, the nation's foremost expert on urban legends explores the spontaneous germination of these bizarre yet plausible narratives that play on the absurdities and prey on the fears of modern life.

The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story! pins down the qualities that give urban legends their air of authenticity and make them hard to believe yet impossible to dismiss. For those interested in popular culture and current events as well as those wary of being taken in by false information, Brunvand's book reinforces his most basic piece of advice: "Don't believe everything you hear."

The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story!

Encyclopedia of Urban Legends
Encyclopedia of Urban Legends: We all know those stories that are too bizarre to be true -- roasted babies, vanishing hitchhikers, scuba divers in trees -- but have you heard about the ice-man or the bullet baby? Do you know the urban legends from Holland, Scotland, France, or Australia? Or the connection between urban legends and folk narrative, xenophobia, and the Child ballads? You will, once you read Encyclopedia of Urban Legends, the definitive word on the subject from the dean of urban-legend studies, Jan Harold Brunvand. The thorough coverage of urban legends of the United States, Canada, and other English-speaking countries is enhanced by entries for all countries in which published urban legend collections are presently available: hitchhikers vanish all over the world.

The Cost of Deception: Have you heard? The president of Proctor and Gamble has ties to the Church of Satan. Infamous atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair is on a crusade to stamp out Christian broadcasting. Scientists in Russia actually discovered hell deep inside the earth’s core.

While these stories are not only outrageous and frightening, they are most of all completely untrue! Even so, these urban legends are proliferated everyday by otherwise well-meaning and sincere Christians who find these stories credible enough to consider true.

Author John Williams contends that such hoaxes erode the credibility of Christians in a world where Christian influence is being met by increasing skepticism and gives Christians everywhere the tools to protect themselves from the cost of deception.

The Cost of Deception

Manufacturing Tales
Manufacturing Tales: The mouse in the Coke bottle, the promiscuous cheerleader, the exploding Pop Rocks candy, the Kentucky Fried Rat. If the ballad and the fairy tale were the archetypal folklore forms of an earlier age, such contemporary legends constitute the preferred narrative genre of the late twentieth century. In Manufacturing Tales, award-winning folklorist Gary Alan Fine presents a major new theory of the creation and diffusion of contemporary legends in modern society.

Whispers on the Color Line: Urban legends are a large part of today's society. Nearly everyone has heard the myths about why Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name or who owns Snapple or the woman who was saved from attack by a gas station attendant. But how do urban legends affect how different races see each other, and how do these legends change according to which ethnic group is being targeted? In this fascinating book, Fine and Turner explore not only the basis of many of these urban legends but also how they shape opinions. They discuss different kinds of rumors and how these rumors are shared within the community. They also discuss how to cope with rumors and to stop them in their tracks. With a fairly extensive notes section, this is an important and useful book that should find a home in every library.
Whispers on the Color Line

Did You Hear About the Girl Who . . .?
Did You Hear About the Girl Who . . .?: Marianne H. Whatley and Elissa R. Henken have collected hundreds of sexually-themed stories and jokes from college students in order to tell us what they reveal about our sexual attitudes and show us how they have changed over time. They confront myths and stereotypes about sexual behavior and use folklore as a tool to educate students about sexual health and gender relations. Whether analyzing popular rumors about celebrity emergency room visits or the latest schoolyard jokes, Did You Hear About The Girl Who . . . ? presents these tales in a way that is intriguing and educational.

I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Fried chicken will make you sterile; the FBI killed Martin Luther King, Jr.; the "powers that be'' facilitated the crack epidemic, the AIDS epidemic, and the murders of black children in Atlanta: Here, folklore scholar Turner offers an illuminating examination of why rumors like these persist in the African-American community. Turner explores why these rumors, and not others, took root in black culture across the US; how they got started; and what they represent to even well-educated, well-informed African-Americans.
I Heard It Through the Grapevine

The Book of Nasty Legends
The Book of Nasty Legends: Many plausible nasty stories are told in pubs, offices and at parties. Not all are strictly true; rather they are examples of 'contemporary legends'. The horrid themes of these nasty legends include revenge, embarrassing incidents, the dangers of modern technology, contaminated food, motoring accidents, and death . . .

The Book of Nastier Legends: Following the success of his Book of Nasty Legends, Paul Smith presents a new selection from his hoard of these 'universal apocryphal anecdotes' and describes their history and importance to contemporary culture. From the sad tale of the cat in the microwave to the sinister story of devil worship in a major multinational corporation, these legends -- admirably illustrated by David Austin -- are today's development of our great storytelling tradition.
The Book of Nastier Legends

The Best Book of Urban Myths Ever!
The Best Book of Urban Myths Ever!: From phantom hitchhikers to deadly clouds of floating flatulence, these are tall tales of extremely dubious origin and The Best Book of Urban Myths Ever! has them all and more! Much more!

More than 500 brain-mangling, credibility-straining stories arranged conveniently by theme contained in one fun volume. From sex to sport, from animals to accidents, see your friends' eyes pop out of their heads when you tell them a few of these tall tales!

Now! That's What I Call Urban Myths: A legend in their own water closets, Healey and Glanvill's three best-selling volumes of URBAN MYTHS have delighted the entire nation. And, in a glorious trouser-trembling, no-holes-barred blockbuster, NOW, THAT'S WHAT I CALL URBAN MYTHS bring you the very best of the incredible but 'true' stories you love to remember -- and quite a few you'd rather forget . . .

Every classic hit and myth has been lovingly selected from the chart-topping series for this ultimate collection. Remember the 'HATCHET IN THE HANDBAG', the 'MANIAC ON THE ROOF', the 'MEXICAN SNOT SLUGS' and the 'STRIP-SHOW FACE-LOUSE'? From the ones you loved to the ones you missed, NOW, THAT'S WHAT I CALL URBAN MYTHS has them all. Don't go home without it.

Now! That's What I Call Urban Myths

Urban Legends
Urban Legends: This is the new book by nationally syndicated Chicago Sun Times columnist Richard Roeper. It is a comprehensive, enlightening, entertaining look at hundreds of stories that have no basis in fact -- no matter how many people swear otherwise.

Imagine a world where James Dean really did give a Harley to Elvis and Neil Armstrong really did issue a secret message to his old neighbor when he set foot on the moon. But, as Richard Roeper says in the introduction, "The truth should count for something, shouldn't it?"

Hollywood Urban Legends: Did Jane Fonda betray American POWs while visiting Hanoi? What's the story behind Tom Green's supposed raid on a bar mitzvah? Was Marilyn Monroe really a size 16? Was Mel Gibson horribly disfigured in a barroom brawl, leading to more than five years of rehab and plastic surgery before he could show his face in public? And what's the truth about the infamous bloopers on such shows as "The Newlywed Game," "Password" and the "Tonight Show"?

Richard Roeper recounts these stories in Hollywood Urban Legends, as he gives us the truth behind the most deliciously false stories about our favorite stars.

Hollywood Urban Legends

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Legends
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Legends: Some stories are so good, we think they ought to be true, even if they aren't. Urban legends, or myths, passed on at office water coolers, over the Internet and in coffee houses, are stories that sound almost if not completely plausible. If anything, they're entertaining. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Legends gathers numerous fables and tells you the whole story! Historic and psychological underpinnings are also discussed.

Pelicans & Chihuahuas and Other Urban Legends: Horror, humour, and cautionary tales abound in this collection by folklorist Bill Scott.

For thirty years Bill has been keeping track of everything from lost treasures to ghostly apparitions. If you want details on the dangers of scuba diving close to bushfires, the terrors of shopping for blankets and cactus plants, or a sheep sex aid called Luv Ewe, look inside.

Pelicans & Chihuahuas and Other Urban Legends

Alligators in the Sewer
Alligators in the Sewer: Billed as "Absolutely true stories that happened to a friend . . . of a friend . . . of a friend,'' this supremely entertaining collection of urban legends compiles well-known stories, little-known but intriguing tales, and shady rumors, arranged by genre. Funny, bizarre, and sure to suspend your disbelief, they include such legends as Elvis's Motorcycle and Other Celebrity Rumors; The Murderer in the Backseat and Other Legends of the Road; The Stolen Kidney and Other Medical Mishaps; Aliens in Roswell, New Mexico and Other Close Encounters; and many more. Guaranteed to enlighten, amuse, and shock!

The Baby on the Car Roof: The Baby on the Car Roof brings together 222 totally new, funny, quirky, frightening, bizarre and always entertaining urban legends. Urban legends or myths are dramatic and often humorous stories that circulate under the guise of truth and usually as having happened to "a friend of a friend" even though often they are entirely made-up. Organized by genre, each tale runs one- to two-pages long. Story variations are included in each listing. The subjects range from famous people, sex, office foibles and travel nightmares to college pranks, biological abnormalities and ghost stories.
The Baby on the Car Roof

Urban Legends : The As-Complete-As-One-Could-Be Guide to Modern Myths
Urban Legends: Urban Legends is a remarkably complete collection of the modern myths that make the rounds in offices, college dorms, or wherever people tell the stories that spring most directly from our deepest fears and fascinations.

From "The Mexican Pet" that turns out to be no Chihuahua to condoms as fast-food burger garnish, from surgically skilled kidney thieves to sexual experiments that end in the emergency room, Urban Legends relates more than 300 of the most enticing, macabre, and unforgettable of these tales

Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky: In this entertaining and fascinating book, filled with a wealth of delightful, extraordinary, and even frightening examples, Robert Pollock looks at the various types of urban myths that proliferate worldwide and asks where they come from, and how, and why they continue to flourish.
Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky

The Affairs of Dame Rumor
The Affairs of Dame Rumor: Rumors are born of ignorance and superstition. They batten on gullibility, avarice, fear and hate, and their issue is panic, hysteria, and even war. Here is a study of rumor and its monstrous progeny -- that includes in its glorious company aphrodisiacs, sea serpents, and Men from Mars -- and a few wise words on how to combat the evil and slay the monster.

Sometimes the Dragon Wins: Yet More Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire: More urban folklore -- in the form of cartoons, memos, mottoes, and poems -- from the compilers of the already classic Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire (1975), When You're up to Your Ass in Alligators (1987), and Never Try to Teach a Pig to Sing (1991).
Sometimes the Dragon Wins

The Tumour in the Whale
The Tumour in the Whale: Whale-tumour stories are stories the teller swears are true because they happened to a friend. You never meet the friend, but you suddenly hear of the same thing happening to friends of other friends . . .

Pure fact, pure invention or a mixture of both; grotesque or amusing; far-fetched or uncomfortably believable, whale-tumour stories are always worth hearing. Here is Rodney Dale's collection of these modern myths.

Rumor!: Psst . . . Rumor! has the real lowdown . . . the last word on the truth -- or falsity -- of fifty years of rumors.
Rumor!

More Rumor!
More Rumor!: Psst . . . More Rumor! has the real lowdown . . . the last word on the truth -- or falsity -- of fifty years of rumors.

 
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