Updated: Urban Legends

 This is another great idea from Beth in Memphis!  Thanks for sharing!

This is a super popular event that we have done numerous times. It is always really popular. It is especially popular if you add some experiments for the teens to do.

Urban Legends and Mythbusters

Depending on how many teens you have, you may want to divide them up into teams.  Give each teen or team a sign—one sign says “FACT” and the other says “FICTION.” Also, click here for our Mythbusters power point.

Start by asking teens if they are familiar with urban legends.  Google defines Urban Legends as:

  • Universal motifs in folklore, or stories to good to be true. Urban legends are friend-of-a-friend stories (FOAFS) that are told to describe strange, but supposedly real events, when infact they are fictional due to word of mouth invention or distortion. There is usually a true element to the legend, but it becomes fictional as it is passed from one person to the next. Core elements in most urban legends remain the same, but details of the story can differ from one locale to the next.
  • Urban legends are a kind of folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. Urban legends are sometimes repeated in news stories and, in recent years, distributed by email. People frequently say such tales happened to a “friend of a friend” – so often, in fact, that FOAF has become a commonly used acronym to describe this sort of story. Urban legends are not necessarily untrue, but they are often false, distorted, exaggerated, or sensationalized.

Sources you can check for Urban Legends:

Snopes  (www.snopes.com)

And their “Hottest 25 Legends”  (http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp)

Urban Legends and Folklore (www.urbanlegends.about.com/)

Urban Legends and Hoax Resouce Center (www.scambusters.org/legends.html)

Urban Legends and Modern Myths (http://www.warphead.com/urbanlegends/)

Urban Legends and Superstitions (www.urbanlegendsonline.com/)

The popular Discovery Channel television show “MythBusters” (http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/mythbusters/mythbusters.html) can be found on-line with video clips, DVDs, quizes and much more!  Contact your legal department/Discovery for information on public showings.

PRIZES:  Give the winning team pop rocks and a coke! (Along with a copy of the urban legend to take home!)


Feeling really up to it?  Serve food items and place their legend next to them…have everyone vote at the end.

–ham sandwiches:  Did Mama Cass really die by choking on one?

–small bags of chips: An elderly lady went to a vending machine and got a pack of potato chips. She sat down at a nearby table and started to read the newspaper. Soon a young gentleman came and sat down at her table. He grabbed the potato chips, opened it, and started to eat. The lady just watched the man eat the potato chips, not wanting to cause any trouble. He noticed her watching him, then he offered her a potato chip. She jerked it out of his hand and slowly started eating. She continued to stare. Soon the gentleman was finished, he got up, put the empty bag in the trash, and walked away. She mumbled to herself, “Those young people think they can do anything.” She finished reading the newspaper. She rose, and then noticed that under her newspaper was her bag of potato chips.

–Classic Coca-Cola:  the legends abound.  Some true and some false…you can check out an entire episode of MythBusters about the uses of coke.


2 thoughts on “Updated: Urban Legends

  1. Pingback: Urban Legends Program – Mythbusters meets Tweens « Escape to Library Mountain

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