Why we tell each other urban legends
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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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