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Urban legends give people a way to focus and personify the anxieties that come from living in a modern city. It also creates a sense of community when sharing these tales.
Modern urban legends mix the normal and the supernatural, changing how we view our surroundings.
People in 19th-century Britain used folk tales to adjust to the experience of city living. Folklore was continually updated. It expressed concerns about urban development, the threat of strangers, and a shrinking sense of community as people no longer knew one another.
In Victorian London, a tale was told about Spring-heeled Jack, a supposedly clawed, fire-breathing ghost that terrorised villages. The figure thrived in rumour. However, no person who had actually 'seen' the ghost could be found.
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The stories in pop culture in the last century tend to be moralistic and have a clear demarcation of good and bad.
These stories have virtually the same structure of good guys fighting with...
The old folktales didn't have a black-and-white narrative, and instead had nuanced characters with personality, and not necessarily morality.
In many old stories, the protagonist had a varied set of values, which were colorful and diverse.
The old complex storylines were not having a clear identification of what's good and what's bad. The reader had to figure out the details and the complexity which lead to endless discussions.
The modern tales provide a simplified 'colour by numbers' approach to understanding, with clear outlines as to who is the Hero with all the morals, and who is the bad guy who must be killed.
Zombies, a staple of pop culture horror, first started appearing in novels and pulp magazines in the 20s, finally debuting on celluloid in 1932 with the movie White Zombie, though many att...
The word ‘Zombie’ is derived from West African languages, with the Mitsogo language of Gabon describing them as ‘ndzumbi’, which means a corpse, to the Kongo language using the word ‘nzambi’ meaning the spirit of a dead person.
Pop culture and folklore from the Caribbean and Haiti seem to be the birthplaces for the concept of zombies that the American audiences crave so much.
Halloween originated more than 2,000 years ago. Europe's Celtic people celebrated their New Year's Day on November 1.
On the eve - what we know as Halloween - spirits were believed...
According to the American Folklife Center, Celts often wore costumes to confuse spirits. Celts also wore masks or blackened their faces to impersonate dead ancestors.
An early form of trick-or-treating involved Celts, costumed as spirits, to have moved from house to house, exchanging food and drink for silly acts.
Samhain, the Celtic peoples New Year's Day, was changed by the seventh century Pope Boniface IV to All Saint's Day, or All Hallows' Day. Later it was name Halloween.
European immigrants brought Halloween to the United States, but it only became more known in the 1800s, when Irish-American immigration increased.