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Top 5 Urban Legends and Myths

What about the good Samaritan who got all that money from a celebrity? Never happened. What about the good Samaritan who got all that money from a celebrity? Never happened.


We all heard them on the schoolyards and suburban cul-de-sacs where we grew up – rumors of mutant pets, bizarre deaths and secret celebrity alter egos. As the stories got passed around, the buzz generated by their haunting mysteries seemed to grow more and more alluring.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about these urban myths is how universal they were. In an age long before the Internet, kids growing up in ’70s Philadelphia heard the same tales as kids growing up in ’80s Seattle. And so it is with spine-tingling nostalgia that Rosebud Magazine presents five essential urban legends.


Pop Rocks are a tiny fruit-flavored candy that hit the market in the ’70s. They contained a little carbonation that created a popping sound and sensation in your mouth, which when combined with soda, specifically Coke, was rumored to cause your stomach to explode.

This urban legend was usually accompanied by the additional detail that Mikey from the Life cereal commercials had suffered an untimely death from the lethal confection combination. The story gained such strength that General Foods, manufacturer of Pop Rocks, sent 50,000 letters to schools, took out full-page ads in major publications and sent the candy’s inventor on speaking tours to quell the hysteria.


Schoolyards were once abuzz with the story of a boy who got a baby alligator as a gift and flushed the pet down the toilet, sending it to the sewers, where it grew to full size and began devouring people. This has been a popular legend despite the fact that it’s essentially impossible for an alligator to thrive in a sewer. But the premise is just credible enough to keep the story going, and even to have produced a campy 1980 horror film, creatively titled Alligator.


This is one myth that had a few variations. Depending on where you grew up, you heard that Fred Rogers, host of the popular children’s show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, had either been a Navy SEAL, a top-notch sniper in Vietnam or a child molester. Apparently something about Rogers’ wholesomeness was too pure to be believed. However, nothing nefarious or dark was ever uncovered regarding the beloved children’s host, and since his 2003 death, the rumors have faded.


This was a popular story for sleepovers. The legend goes that if you stand in front of a mirror and say “Bloody Mary” three times, you’ll conjure the ghost of a woman executed for murder. In most variations of this legend, anyone who performs the incantation dies, which is a good way to prevent the theory from being field-tested by inquisitive sixth-graders. And thus, the story was only rarely debunked.


Here’s an urban legend that continues to circulate to this day, and not just among kids. The story goes that a motorist pulls up to help a guy in a fancy car fix a flat tire. The guy with the flat tire asks for the good Samaritan’s address, and a week later the helpful motorist gets $10,000 in the mail. It turns out the guy with the flat tire was some celebrity, whose identity changes over the years depending on the story. Lately, it’s common to hear that it was Donald Trump.

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Another list of urban legends – check it out!
Last modified on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 20:48

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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