Urban Legends and Folklore


Reviewed by Sherrilyn Morris

This site is a part of the About.com network, which is sponsored and copyrighted by About, Inc. This Internet company, headquartered in the city of New York, was founded in 1997 by Scott Kurnit. It has a solid reputation and is used as a resource in some college reference classes. One example is the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Services class Information to Information Access and Retrieval (SLIS 5600). According to “Our Story,” each site in this network is “run by a professional Guide who is carefully screened and trained by About.”

The “Urban Legends and Folklore” page is headed by David Emery. His biography page identifies David Emery as “a writer and an avid chronicler of urban folklore, with a special interest in the lore and folklife of the internet.” He has a B.A. in philosophy from Portland State University and some graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin. His experience includes work as a writer, editor, and commentator.

The purpose of this site, which is updated on a regular basis, is to offer information on the subject of urban legends and to entertain the reader with the legends. David Emery makes every attempt to remain objective about each story and topic. He has taken care to track down sources and the history of the stories whenever possible. He also provides commentary or suggests further readings for many of the legends.

The pages are all very busy, filled with subjects, annotations, links, and several advertisements. Navigating the site is not especially demanding, but novices may have difficulties distinguishing story links from advertising links. There are also several stories that are inappropriate for children and pre-teens. These stories have no warnings or disclaimers, so it is important for parents to be aware of what their children are reading on this site.

“Urban Legends and Folklore” is overflowing with topics and stories. There are literally hundreds of legends to read and explore. There are 29 subject areas ranging from “Accidents” to “Virus Hoaxes.” There is a section for the “Top 10 categories” and the “Top 10 search terms.” Essential areas include, “Current Net Hoaxes,” “Top 25 Urban Legends,” and “Submit a Hoax/Rumor/UR,” among others. The homepage also offers “In The Spotlight,” annotations and links for legends of current interest. Finding so many stories in one location is of great benefit to anyone reading or studying about urban legends. The links to additional sites and information are especially relevant and helpful. This broad spectrum of information makes “Urban Legends and Folklore” one of the best sites of its kind on the web.

For those who are interested, members of About.com may receive a newsletter or participate in message boards or a 24-hour live chat. There is no charge for subscribing to the site. This site is highly recommended as a source for reading or research about urban legends and folklore.