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Vol 39  No 16
June 28, 2007


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Urban Legends: A Collection of International Tall Tales and Terrors

Edited by Dr. Paul Smith and Dr. Gillian Bennett

“Don’t pick up that hitchiker!” “Don’t get in that car without looking in the back seat!” “If you knew what they put in that, no way would you eat it!” Urban legends are central to everyday experience. Everyone has heard the story about such-and-such, and while it sounds impossible, so-and-so swears that it must be true.

These legends are everywhere, from high schools and colleges to offices and organizations. They appear in films, television series, and novels, and are now widely spread over the Internet. This book collects and annotates more than 150 urban legends from around the world and is a valuable resource for students, general readers, and anyone interested in contemporary culture. Readers will find a wide range of urban legends, such as: The Black Lady, The Thug in the Back Seat, Jesus as Hitchiker, The Devil at the Disco, The Hitchiker from Space, Bloody Mary, The Man in Black, The Mutilated Shopper, and many more.

Each entry provides introductory information about a legend, including its presence in films and other creative works; the text of the legend; a list of works for further reading; and references to similar tales. The legends are grouped in thematic chapters, such as animals, city life and horror. The volume closes with a selected, general bibliography and a detailed index. Students of literature will enjoy studying and analyzing these tales, while students in social studies courses will welcome them as a reflection of contemporary concerns.

Paul Smith

Dr. Paul Smith is a professor in Memorial’s Folklore Department. His work encompasses contemporary legend, traditional drama, and folklore and popular literature. With Dr. Gillian Bennett, he has edited numerous works, including Contemporary Legend: A Folklore Bibliography (1993), and Contemporary Legend: A Reader (1996).

Dr. Bennett is an independent scholar and the author of numerous works on ghost stories and urban legends.

Urban Legends is published by Greenwood Press.


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