Urban legends deliver a shock factor that compels people to retell it and share it as though it were imperative everyone knows about it. Eventually, the urban legend has a life of its own and becomes a part of pop culture with people believing it's a true story of actual events.
Attraction of Sensationalism in Urban Legends
Urban legends are always sensational tales. The lure of the unknown being discovered is exciting and captures the imagination that there is more in the world than is known.
Considered an urban legend, the Bermuda Triangle captivates with its mystery of huge ships and planes disappearing under strange circumstances. It's one story that grew legs over the years and keeps traveling as people speculate about what happened, what could have caused the disappearances, where the people went, and a possible government coverup. These are the things that make for a great urban legend. There are no answers, only questions.
Monster Fear Factor
The other attraction of urban legends is fear. Scary is part of the unspoken criteria for gauging the value of an urban legend. How much fear does the story evoke in a person? The scarier and spookier the story is, the faster it spreads. Monsters play an important role in many urban legends.
Tales of impossible creatures existing in the world, such as vampires and werewolves. The dangling carrot of immortality but at such a high cost creates intrigue and curiosity. The vampire's ability to remain young forever and the werewolf's morphing into a powerful strong being offers a glimpse into raw power unleashed.
And then, there is the ultimate scary creature. It is a human that has no control or choice and morphs into a terrifying monster that is the epitome of urban legend fright. The zombie has displaced vampires and werewolves as the most terrifying of the urban legend food chain because it could easily happen to you during a zombie apocalypse.
Creepy Urban Legends
There are other types of urban legends that are just as creepy as unexplained disappearances and humans transformed into monsters. These are stories of victims and they always come with some kind of moral that's meant to prevent you from becoming a victim or modify current behaviors.
There are many urban legends about colleges and the horrible fate of college kids who didn't heed a warning. Other stories give false hope of you getting a free pass the rest of the semester but unfortunately, your roommate has to be slaughtered by a madman. Another roommate warning is the tale of a roommate murdered and a month later, the killer comes for the other roommate. These and other urban legends reflect a mix of pop culture, ghost stories, and folklore.
Some are layered with a true story within a story that plays mind games with the unsuspecting. A prime example is the horror film, The Blair Witch Project. Because of the way the movie was filmed, it quickly became part of an urban legend that it was all true and the college kids weren't actors and actually died making the movie.
There are also urban legends that are specific to a region or follow a theme. For example, bridges and suicides are a popular theme where the ghost comes to take anyone on the bridge to hell or other scary fate. There are stories that are more of a dare than a warning. Bloody Mary is a spooky tale that literally dares those hearing it to test it for themselves to disprove it or to conquer the curse.
Attraction of Urban Legends
The urban legend is attractive and seduces with its fantastical tale of something impossible. Because the story is told as being true, many people find it difficult to not to believe an urban legend as fact.