In this lively and engaging book, the nation's foremost expert on urban legends explores the spontaneous germination of these bizarre yet plausible narratives that play on the absurdities and prey on the fears of modern life.
Through voluminous correspondence from readers of his books and syndicated newspaper column, Jan Harold Brunvand has become something of a clearinghouse for evolving versions of urban legends. Here he looks in detail at a dozen rampant and long-lived examples of this vigorous category of contemporary folklore, tracing their histories, variations, sources, and meanings.
Brunvand tracks the various permutations of such legends as "The Red Velvet Cake," "The Brain Drain," and "The Baby Roast." He points out their common elements--notably, their insistence on the truth of the story and their attribution to a "friend of a friend." His son Erik Brunvand, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Utah, contributes his own view of computer hacker legends traded across the Internet.
--Inside Front Cover