Feeling superstitious today? From avoiding black cats to stepping on a crack, superstitions exist everywhere – especially on Friday the 13th. Watch our video…
Superstitions: There are a lot of superstitions and legends involving the giving and receiving of gifts. For instance it was at one time considered bad luck to give a pair of scissors or a knife as a gift because it was feared that the act would “cut” the friendship in half. Therefore knives were never given as wedding gifts as it was believed they would lead to a broken marriage.
Also never give anyone a pair of shoes as a Christmas gift because they would make the person you give them to walk away from you. When you give someone a gift of a wallet or purse be sure to put some money into it, even if only a coin, to ward off bad luck. At one time bakers would throw in an extra roll when you bought a dozen as a “gift” in case any of the other rolls were too small. This “gift” became known as the baker’s dozen.
Urban legends: Legends are told as having happened long, long ago whereas urban legends are set in contemporary times and told as having happened to people known either personally to the teller or to someone known by a person the teller knows. The places and names change as they are updated to fit current times and all carry a warning or lesson of some sort. There may even be some truth to the story although the people and places have been changed so many times that it becomes hard to determine what the truth actually was.
One such tale recounts a king’s offer of a gift to a famous golfer (sometimes the golfer is named other times he is just “a famous golfer”) who after first declining the gift asks for a golf club only to find to his amazement that the king has bought him an entire golf course.
In several different legends, although the people and circumstances change the story and its warning are the same. A son (nephew, daughter, niece…) is expecting a very expensive gift (car, house, inheritance…) from his father (uncle, aunt…) but receives a bible. In a fit of anger he throws the bible at the giver and leaves not returning until the givers death when he notices the bible from so long ago, opens it and finds the (key to the car, check to the car dealer, will leaving him everything etc.).
Then there are the one-up-manship legends. Two or more siblings vie to get the best gift for their mother (houses, cars, jewels) with one going to great expense to get a bird (myna, parrot…) that has been specially trained (to read the bible, sing opera, speak Italian…). The mother politely thanks all (while letting them know their gift wasn’t very practical) then speaks proudly of the child who had the sense to bring her the delicious chicken.
There is also a true story of two brothers who re-gifted the same pair of pants back and forth wrapped in very creative ways, from rolling them into a 3′ long 1″ wide pipe to stuffing them into the glove compartment of a car that they then had crushed and delivered in time for Christmas. The pants went back and forth for 25 years before they finally fell apart.
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Combining Black Dog’s three very successful hardcover collections of “urban legends” (Alligators in the Sewer, The Baby on the Car Roof, and The Cat in the Dryer) into one stupendous volume, Urban Legends is the ultimate collection of those outlandish tales people love to share. With themes that run the gamut from funny to sick, risqué to informative, frightening to disgusting, these fantastic yarns are remarkable for their uncanny ability to travel by word of mouth. We’ve all heard the one about the alligators that roam New York City’s sewers, or how “Mikey” of Life Cereal fame died from ingesting Pop Rocks and Coke, or about the flustered parents who left their baby on the car roof. But, did you hear the one about the scuba diver who was found in the middle of a forest after a fire? These and other favorites are here in all of their creepy glory—guaranteed to amuse, enlighten, intrigue, and most of all, stick in the mind forever.
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At the renowned film school Alpine University, one senior student is awarded the esteemed Hitchcock Award for the best thesis film each year. A down-to-earth documentary film student Amy Mayfield wants to take a crack at the Hitchcock. During a chance meeting with the new campus security guard Reese, Amy is inspired by the story of an urban legend at Reese’s former place of employment, Pendleton University. Deciding to break away from documentaries, Amy’s thesis film will be a work of fiction about urban legends. After writing the script, story boarding the shots and casting her actors, Amy and her crew prepare to roll camera. When Amy’s film crew starts falling prey to fatal “accidents,” she questions where fiction ends and truth begins. When all the dots start to connect back to her, she realizes she must unmask the killer before she becomes an urban legend.
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The definitive word on the subject from the dean of urban legend studies.
We all know those stories that are too bizarre to be true—roasted babies, vanishing hitchhikers, scuba divers in trees—but have you heard about the ice man or the bullet baby? This comprehensive and compellingly readable reference work will answer all your urban legend questions, offering alphabetical entries on every aspect of the subject, including descriptions of hundreds of individual legends and their variations, legend themes, and scholarly approaches to the genre. Other entries discuss the relationship of urban legends to literature, film, comic books, music, and many other areas of popular culture. A Booklist Editors’ Choice 2001 Reference Book. “Unlike most encyclopedias, this one may be read cover to cover.”—Choice “Compiled by the foremost authority on this form of contemporary folklore….Superb.”—Library Journal 60 black and white illustrations