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"I have a friend of a friend who brought home a dog from Mexico, then he shaved it. It turns out someone had stolen its kidney and replaced it with a Polaroid picture of my toothbrush up Richard Gere's ass. Go figure!"

This is a true story. Happened to a friend of a friend of mine...

An Urban Legend is a story which imparts information or An Aesop (explicit or implicit) and which purports to be the account of a true event which happened locally, fairly recently, and to someone the teller knows (often a "friend of a friend"). Even though the story is supposedly merely secondhand, it has usually been passed along through several sources and altered in the telling (to make it more 'local,' plausible, or what have you). Some folklorists, like Jan Brunvand or the couple who run Snopes.com, collect these critters and try to evaluate their claims.

Urban legends are sensational by definition, which makes them attractive to audiences and enticing to the media. They show up most often as the Case of the Week on television Police Procedurals, though dramas or even sitcoms have been known to borrow a legend and make it come true for one of the main characters. There are a small but increasing number of shows dedicated to proving/disproving their basis in reality; the most popular of these is MythBusters, followed closely by the cable series Penn & Teller: Bullshit!. Newspapers also pick up urban legends as filler articles; you can recognize them as stories that sound too weird to be true and surprisingly vague in the details (no names given for the people involved, for example). Yet even factual details are no guarantee of a true account: any Snopes article will show that the names, dates and locations frequently get changed to protect the non-existent.

The moral of an urban legend often employs a bit of Scare 'em Straight, to drive the lesson home or merely for the sake of humor (The Cabbage Patch Kids one, for example, was a joke). After all, these legends won't get passed along if no one wants to retell them. This is not to say that urban legends are all pure fiction. The most convincing of them contain a grain of truth (i.e. a less interesting but factual story) which becomes sensationalized or completely distorted to bring the message a bit closer to home. Instead of some unknown Alice suffering bizarre consequences after a cocaine overdose, it was Drew Barrymore. Instead of the gruesome murder occurring in a far away country, it coincidentally happened right here, not far from where you live, and the Bad Guys who did it are people who aren't like us (foreigners, people of different races or cultures, junkies, celebrities, criminals...)

Needless to say, urban legends make just as free with the message at the heart of the tale as they do with the facts of the story, so expect Broken Aesops, Fantastic Aesops, and all sorts of Values Dissonance; not to mention Gossip Evolution.

See Urban Legend of Zelda for examples concerning hidden content in interactive media. See also Oral Tradition.

Not to be confused with Conspiracy Theory, where politics is clearly involved. If you were looking for the film by this name, look right here.

Examples below.


Tropes associated with urban legends:


Meta examples:

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    Advertising 
  • There was a widespread myth that the little kid from the Life Cereal commercials had died from trying out a deadly combination of Pop Rocks and Soda. As it turns out, no, the dude's still alive, and in his mid-40s today. Plus, the MythBusters proved that six 12-ounce cans of cola and six packages of Pop Rocks would only cause considerable pain to the subject (and even then, only if both gas release mechanisms were blocked), as the reaction did not produce the amount of carbon dioxide necessary for stomach rupture.
  • Urban legend is that Humphrey Bogart was the original Gerber baby. The actual model was Ann Turner. Humphrey appeared as the model for a separate baby food called "Mellin's".

    Anime and Manga 
  • In the late 70's-early 80's, when Ufo Robo Grendizer aired for the first time in Italy introducing the anime craze in the country, multiple magazines and newspapers spreaded around the weird concept that, since Japan was seen back then as a technology-heavy nation, their cartoons were made by a computer after scanning a few character sketches and a plot summary. The whole idea was already debunked in 1979 when Rai (the main Italian TV network, whose channels aired most of the anime shows available back then) aired a special news broadcast showing how animators at Toei worked.
  • My Hero Academia: A mistranslation of a chapter implied that All Might was in a relationship with his former sidekick Sir Nighteye (he literally states that he can't help Midoriya get an internship with him because they broke up, so it'd be awkward to ask, and Present Mic teases him about letting his feeling get in the way), which led many fans to believe and spread that All Might was interested in men. This was exacerbated when someone edited All Might's page on the wikia to add a false statement from Horikoshi in which he admits that All Might is interested in both men and women, but leaves his relationship´with Nighteye ambiguous. While this was quickly cleared, some fans still believe in it.
  • There's a rumor in the Lucky Star fandom that in a manga omake, Word of God confirmed that Kagami has a one-sided crush on Konata (which of course is prime fuel for the shippers). Except...that this omake doesn't exist, but of course the shippers love to propagate the rumor without ever checking for a source. (The lack of scans online beyond the beginning of Volume 2 contributes to this.) An alternate version is that it was stated in an interview and the quote was more along the lines of "One of the girls has an unrequited crush on the other." but not it specifically being Kagami. Suffice to say, nobody ever managed to confirm this.
  • Sailor Moon: Prince Uranus refers to a fan-created rumor (from the long-defunct fan site "Save our Sailors") that was stated to have come from an unnamed Japanese magazine's article interviewing Naoko Takeuchi, who supposedly explained that Sailor Neptune's and Sailor Uranus's lesbian relationship was in fact that of Sailor Neptune and Prince Uranus, who had died and was reborn as a girl (as his sister's powers had passed on to him, causing him to be reborn as her). Needless to say, Sailor Moon fans were not amused, and the site that the rumor came from later quietly removed it.
  • There is a popular and persistent rumor about the finale of Captain Tsubasa that stated that the whole series is All Just a Dream, ending with Tsubasa waking up in a hospital, where we find out he was run over by a truck during the first episode and that his legs were amputated since the accident. While many people have stated that they "saw" the episode, this is in fact, false since there is nothing to prove it as real (besides a poorly photoshopped picture of Tsubasa in a hospital bed): there are three anime adaptations of the manga (the last one being Road to 2002), the scene with the truck is exclusive to the first series, and the creator has been working in several sequels and spin-offs since the last anime was released in earlier 2000s. Even more: it was revealed in December 2017 that a new anime series will be aired in 2018.
  • Digimon
    • The fandom has the still-persistent belief that Renamon was male in the original Japanese. It doesn't help that at least one foreign version (the German one for example) has Renamon as a male character, which naturally caused confusion when one of its Digivolutions, Sakuyamon, was presented and it looked very feminine (including breasts, which Renamon didn't have).
    • Additionally, a persistent rumor held that, in the Japanese version of Piedmon's Last Jest, Takeru and Hikari kiss, a scene that was supposedly censored out for the English version. An even more persistent rumor held that the series was only supposed to run for a dozen or so episodes, consisting only of the Devimon arc, but its popularity caused it to be extended into a full 50-episode-long series.note  Yet another rumor claimed that the franchise's first movie, included as part one of the localized Digimon: The Movie was originally a stand-alone project whose good reception led to a full animated series being produced; the movie was actually shown at a film festival the day before Adventure's first episode aired, making this impossible.
    • Digimon Adventure 02 has had at least a couple of long-standing rumors about its Distant Finale; one involves an interview where someone who worked on the show said that TK/Kari and Izzy/Mimi were going to be two of the couples, along with the canon Ken/Yolei and Matt/Sora. Another one, commonly perpetuated by Tai/Sora fans, is that Sora and Matt are divorced. So far, there is no evidence that either rumor is true.
  • Doraemon has two rumors regarding the series finale:
    • Similar to the supposed ending of Captain Tsubasa, Doraemon was also believed to end like this. The whole show is (depending on who tells it) either the delusion of a mentally ill kid, or more often, the dream of a boy in a coma. In both instances, Nobita is found bedridden with a Doraemon plushie, and usually the story claims that he has no legs. The story, however, does not end like that. The original TV show doesn't have a proper ending, in fact, it continued airing new episodes long after those rumors appeared, generally spread by older fans who grew out of Doraemon's main demographic and had no idea that the show was still making new material. The rumor is stronger in Latin America, fueled by the fact the dub had a hiatus that led people to believe the show ended. The manga never got a proper ending, while the anime has a special with a more And the Adventure Continues style ending.
    • Another rumor is way more optimistic. It deals with Doraemon malfunctioning as his batteries run out. The batteries are linked to his memory, and therefore replacing them will cause him to reboot. Nobita, not wanting to erase his memories, decides to study hard and do his best to find a way to repair his friend without rebooting his system. It leads to him becoming a successful engineer, and when he finally is able to fix the cosmic cat, Doraemon decides he no longer needs him and he decides to stay with Nobita's son instead. This rumor was created by a very convincing Doujinshi, which has confused many people into believing it's the real deal, even when the original fan comic doesn't even pretend to be taken as canon.
  • Dragon Ball
    • Dragon Ball AF was a rumor started after GT ended, and still hasn't died. It's supposed to be a continuation of the story after Dragon Ball GT, where Goku supposedly goes Super Saiyan 5. It went downhill after that. Fan Theories are confirmed, and every character reaches another level of Super Saiyan: 6, 7...50. However, AF simply does not exist. Even the name is a mystery. The ones who want to believe it exists say it's "After Future", the ones who don't say it's "April Fools". A doujinshi was created out of this theory by Toyble, which just made things worse as the art is really good, and resembles Toriyama's. Fans believed it to be official. The Daizenshuu EX website also played with this theory, which again, just made things worse.
    • Then there came Dragon Ball Hoshi, which just like AF doesn't exist. Yet trailers exist around the net, mostly scenes from Dragon Ball videogame openings and movies unreleased outside Japan.
    • And there's the age-old "Toriyama wanted Dragon Ball to end at <insert arc here>" rumor, perpetuated by many fans yet rarely supported by factual evidence. In fact, the only original ending point per Word of God was after the original Dragon Ball search — the very first arc!
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
    • In the fanbase you'll sometimes hear the rumor that Winry's name was meant to be "Wendy", but it wasn't spelled correctly. Similarly, that "Riza" was intended as "Liza" or "Lisa".
    • Despite many fans swearing that it's canon, there is no mention anywhere in the 2003 anime that Envy's real name is "William Elric".
  • Pokémon:
    • In the early days of the Pokémon fandom, there were rumors that Ash's Butterfree dies in the original Japanese version of "Bye Bye Butterfree" and that the English dub rewrote the script so that Butterfree lives. It was supposedly claimed that Butterfree die after mating like real butterflies do, and Ash is sad because he knows this is the last time he'll see his Butterfree alive. Once the Japanese episodes became more readily available, it became clear that this is not the case and Butterfree do indeed survive after mating. He even appears in a future intro with his mate.
    • Rumors for Pokémon: The First Movie are that Mew in the Japanese version has a very horrible opinion on clones and says that they are "inferior and should die". In reality, according to Meowth (Nyarth in this version), its dialogue is:
    The real ones are real. If the clones fight only using their bodies and not with skill, the real ones will never lose.
    • For a while after the Western release of Pokémon: I Choose You! some voices (that were even here on this very site) said that in the Japanese version there was a post-credits scene removed from the Western dubs featuring Giovanni and Mewtwo, hinting at a remake of the first movie being released in 2018. Reviews of the Japanese version such as Dogasu's make clear that the only thing said at the end in the Japanese version was "the next movie will be released next year" in text form, with no extra scene whatsoever. It's unknown from where the rumor came from.
    • Back before the episode was dubbed, there was a rumor that in Misty's final Original Series episode Ash gave her his hat as a keepsake. This even appeared in fan-magazines and guides.
    • In the 2000s there was a rumor of a Japanese-only episode where Pikachu was confirmed to be female by turning into a human girl. No such episode exists and Ash's Pikachu was later confirmed to be male.
  • There is a rumor that Black Butler was originally supposed to be a Yaoi, but was changed to attract a wider audience, which some say is just an urban legend. There is evidence for both arguments, with the strongest evidence for the rumor being that the author has been known to draw Yaoi before.
  • A weirdass edit on the Italian Wikipedia page for Kirby: Right Back at Ya! mentioned an enormous quantity of side characters that were apparently edited out from the 4Kids dub, including multiple appearances of Gooey and Bukiset respectively as Kirby's sidekick and Knuckle Joe's rival, an entire Missing Episode about a penguin army declaring war on Dream Land and a pair of sword-wielding fairies, with detailed descriptions of where they supposedly appear in every single episode of the show. The fact that none of the descriptions actually match with any scene saw in the series can easily prove that was a giant lie.
  • Naruto: There's a persistent rumor that Naruto/Sakura was the original endgame couple and that Kishimoto only paired with him with Hinata due to it being a Fan-Preferred Couple. No, Kishimoto always planned Hinata as Naruto's love interest and admits the Ship Tease for Narusaku was all just Red Herrings.
  • The visuals for the opening of Ai Shitenight showed the main character Yakko with blonde hair (which is her hair color in the manga), instead of the brown she actually has in the anime. Because of that, in Italy for years a rumor was spread that the "mysterious blonde girl" seen during the theme song was the host of a brief segment that originally aired at the end of every episode where she basically gave sexual education lessons at the kids watching the show which were entirely cut in the Italian dub, including explanations on which scenes in each episode were used as basis for the lessons. But years later the truth actually came out

    Architecture 
  • There's a legend among London architecture enthusiasts that George Gilbert Scott's St Pancras station was simply a carbon copy of his original design for the Foreign Office building in Whitehall, rejected for being too Gothic. Examination of the actual Foreign Office proposal shows that this is a complete urban legend (possibly originating as a joke).

    Comic Books 
  • One famous comic book urban legend is that artist Wally Wood deliberately drew Power Girl's breasts larger and larger in each successive issue until someone told him to stop. There is, however, no verifiable evidence of this.
  • It's claimed that Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he doesn't wear pants. Actually, Donald Duck is quite popular in Finland.
  • Due to entries on this wiki, there's the rumor that Tekno and Amy from Sonic the Comic have been confirmed as a couple. No such confirmation exists. They're just close friends.
  • Due to the highly divisive nature of the events leading to Secret Empire, there were two 4chan posts that claim as to what the true ending to the story and how it would shape Generations and Marvel Legacy:
    • One post posits that while the comic ended mostly the same, but that Secret Empire was meant to mirror Secret Invasion with the World Security Council (a group introduced over in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and brought over in Captain America: Steve Rogers) would have taken over, proceeding to clamp down on super heroics, mimicking the Dark Reign era. Many of the fallen elder heroes would have returned via Generations and would go on a trip to reconnect with the people while the younger heroes would lead the fight against the WSC. These titles would also be converted into a brand new Ultimate line — Miles Morales' Spider-Man title would go back to Ultimate Spider-Man, All-New X-Men/X-Men: Blue would become Ultimate X-Men, Champions into The Ultimates, etc.
    • Another post posits a quite different ending and follow up. This post would claim that Secret Empire was originally planned to end with Sam Wilson becoming Captain America once and for all, defeating an unrepentant Steve Rogers. With many of the previous heroes either dead or disgraced in some way, the legacy characters would have fallen into the spotlight. It's claimed that the immense backlash against HYDRA!Steve lead to a hastily re-written ending to how it is now, which holds credence in that the story has a plotline involving another Steve Rogers trapped in Kobik's mind that doesn't connect with the main story until the very end and the hastily thrown in hook to Generations.

    Comic Strips 
  • There is a persistent rumor that the final strip of Calvin and Hobbes is this one, which has Calvin being on medication and no longer wanting to play with Hobbes, who turns back into a plush toy. The strip widely circulated online is a parody created by someone to make an anti-medication point, though the actual artist is unknown. The actual final strip adopts an And the Adventure Continues perspective.

     Film — Animation 
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Mario not being in the movie has nothing to do with Nintendo asking too much money for a cameo. He's not in it because the writers didn't know how to properly incorporate him, though he is mentioned. It's been confirmed he'll appear in the sequel.
  • Despite Don Bluth debunking the rumors, many fans still believe there is an unused storyboard for The Secret of NIMH where Justin and Mrs. Brisby kiss.
  • There's a rumor that in the original script for The Road to El Dorado, there were strong hints that Miguel and Tulio were a gay couple and Executive Meddling resulted in hints of homosexuality being removed and Chel being added, but the fact that Chel is included in rough model sheets and early test footage casts some doubt on this.
  • There's been a hoax going around associated with Monsters, Inc.. It involves a screenshot of a scene showing that Boo drew a drawing of her mother and "Uncle Roger" having sex. The picture is photoshopped. Despite this, people still claim it's a real case of Getting Crap Past the Radar or that it was on the first edition before later being censored.
  • For a long time, it was believed, even by the users on this wiki, that since the newscaster moose in Zootopia was changed to a different animal in other foreign versions, the UK version made him a corgi. Many were skeptical, since screencaps of the other animals existed online, but not the corgi, and there was no evidence of domestic dogs or cats in the Zootopia world. Eventually web users who were actually from the UK stepped in to correct this, pointing out he was still a moose in their version.
  • Rumors exist that Disney modeled the titular lead of Cinderella and Tinker Bell from Peter Pan after Marilyn Monroe. These rumors are unfounded. Marilyn Monroe wasn't even a star when Cinderella was in production. The rumor likely spread because someone within Disney supposedly complained that Cinderella was "too voluptuous" and Monroe was a well-known celebrity from that era who was voluptuous.
  • It's commonly cited that Word of God has said Lady from Lady and the Tramp was in heat during the film. The reason the strays attacked her is because they wanted to rape her, and Tramp got Lady pregnant during their night together. This, however, is not true. Disney has never mentioned Lady being in heat.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • There are urban legends in the 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. There is one scene, just after meeting the Tin Man, where you can see an odd bit of movement in the far background; rumors say this is either a stagehand or one of the Munchkin actors hanging himself because he was rejected by the woman he loved. Apparently it's actually a large bird.
    • And of course, most notably, the Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon soundtrack synching legend. Vigorously denied by the band, who have pointed out that the audio technology necessary to make the film soundtrack and rock album synch this precisely with each other didn't exist in 1973.
    • On a goofier note, urban-legend accounts of zany hijinks engaged in by the little people who'd been recruited from all over the country to play the Munchkins provided inspiration for the 1981 Chevy Chase comedy Under The Rainbow.
  • An urban legend is that one scene in the movie Three Men and a Baby has a ghost of a little boy standing by the window in Ted Danson's apartment. Legend says that the film was shot in an apartment where this boy got killed. It's actually just a cardboard cut-out of Danson (intended for a Deleted Scene), and the apartment was actually a movie studio set.
  • The hoverboards in Back to the Future Part II were claimed to be real by some people. Unfortunately, the models didn't work well and they were never sold. This urban legend resurfaced in 2014 when a video was shown featuring Christopher Lloyd demonstrating what seemed to be a real one. This video is also a hoax and was made by CollegeHumor.
  • Ronald Reagan was never seriously considered to star in the movie Casablanca.
  • As related by Stephen King in his nonfiction book Danse Macabre, the 1963 Roger Corman-directed sci-fi/horror film X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes supposedly originally ended with Ray Milland's character Dr. James Xavier screaming "I can still see!" after he tears out his own eyes, and Executive Meddling forced Roger to cut the final line as too horrifying, so that the film ends with a freeze-frame on Xavier's bloody eyesockets. Corman has both confirmed and denied this legend, saying alternately that Milland went off script and that King just made the whole story up.
  • The Grifter, according to 4chan, is one of the most messed up films ever made that very few have ever seen. It has no relation to The Grifters, or the Wild CATS character Grifter.
  • Harry Potter
    • A Tumblr prank started a rumor that the snake freed in the zoo is Nagini, Voldemort's pet snake. From the looks of things, thousands of gullible fans have reblogged the quote.
    • Also on Tumblr, there's a very highly reblogged post that appeared around the time the last movie premiered about the child actor playing Albus Severus being the same one who played baby Harry in the first movie, despite the fact that a quick IMDB check shows that the first baby Harry was actually played by a set of triplets. Also, bonus points for using a picture of baby Harry from Deathly Hallows instead of the baby Harry from Philosopher's Stone.
  • There are a few stories going around about bits and pieces of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. When online fans in the pre-DVD days bragged that their theater's print of the film had the UK-exclusive song "Super Heroes" intact, one fan attempted to top them by claiming that his theater had an otherwise lost scene in which Riff and Brad engage in anal sex. This became a long (LONG) running in-joke among the Rocky community, with two fans actually writing and filming an intentionally blurry version of the scene for the 2001 'Frankie Goes To Hollywood' convention. Currently, the scene circulates in a fan-created 'extended edition' in the film, strictly for the sake of keeping the legend alive, though it should never be considered canon.
  • Godzilla
    • There are a lot of people who claim that King Kong vs. Godzilla has two different endings for the American and Japanese releases, one where King Kong wins and one where Godzilla wins respectively. While there are differences between the two versions, the endings are the same and Word of God says that King Kong was always the intended victor. The rumor may have started because the Japanese version has King Kong's and Godzilla's roars played at the end, while the American version only had Kong's.
    • There is also a common rumor about the German release of Godzilla vs. Megalon, namely that the dub claims that Jet Jaguar is King Kong wearing a robot suit — likely started by James Rolfe's Godzillathon movie reviews. While it is true that some European releases of these movies have very wacky names, and in Germany, Jet Jaguar is really called King Kong, it's just a case of Dub Name Change, and the character is never stated to be anything other than a human-built robot. For the record, Mechagodzilla is also renamed to King Kong in Germany, and this is, again, a simple name-change.
    • An old and widely believed legend is that a movie titled Godzilla vs. the Devil was in development during the late 1970s. The story is oddly specific, detailing that the film was to be a American/Japanese co-production between Toho Company and UPA Productions in which Godzilla battles a giant spider, a giant fish, and a giant bird before dueling with Satan himself. Not only did the film never come out, it doesn't even exist. The whole thing is just a very strange, very detailed rumor that originated in America.
  • The "still in development" live-action ThunderCats movie has been rumored since 2005, and has even been confused with the canceled 2010 CGI movie. But there is an IMDb page with no information. Let us wish it then into existence!
  • Ever since the last known copy of London After Midnight was destroyed in 1967, there has been a plethora of urban legends regarding film collectors who possess copies of it and refuse to share. Several different names have been thrown around, meaning that potentially several copies might be hidden away in private film vaults somewhere, but so far there's every indication that it's all just bored horror fans pulling the legs of other horror fans. This sort of thing isn't unheard of for lost films, but London After Midnight attracts it to an unrivaled extent due to it being the most famous lost film there is.
  • There are a few myths regarding the legendary "Spider Pit Sequence," a deleted scene from the original King Kong (1933) in which several of the sailors survive their fall into a deep chasm only to be eaten alive by giant bugs and reptiles. While the scene definitely was shot, there's a longstanding myth that it was removed from the film because test audiences found it too disturbing. In reality, the director cut it because he felt it ruined the film's pacing. The second myth is that the footage still exists somewhere in the world, possibly in Asia due to the possibility that the film was shipped there before the scene was cut, but so far, no luck. A very convincing reconstruction of the scene was created by Peter Jackson for the bonus features of the DVD, but when taken out of context, it is sometimes mistaken for the real thing, causing more confusion.note 
  • There's a persistent rumor that Big has an alternate ending where Susan shows up in Josh's class as a transfer student after using the Zoltar machine to de-age herself, despite director Penny Marshall denying its existence.
  • The Mad Max film series is one of several examples of action-heavy films which are subject to urban legends of incidents that led to the actual death of stunt artists being included in the finished film. The two incidents most commonly mentioned are the "bridge scene" near the end of the original Mad Max, in which Max drives the Interceptor through a group of the outlaw bikers, and one biker who hits the road can be clearly seen to be struck in the head by the wheel of a sliding bike; and a sequence in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior where a biker hits an overturned dune buggy at speed and flies over the handlebars, over a buggy, and into a pit. Both of these were genuine accidents during filming that were kept in for being spectacular, but neither led to any permanent harm.
  • The 1959 version of Ben-Hur is the single film most commonly accused of including real death, in its climactic chariot race scene. Three different sequences in which characters are run over by chariots have been pointed to as the real death, but all are visibly done with dummies. The earlier 1926 silent film version is subject to more serious claims of fatalities, with people who were present at the time alleging that at least one stunt performer was killed in an abortive attempt to film the chariot race scene in Rome, and that stunt performers may have drowned during the chaotic filming of a sea battle sequence. However, no sequences within the film have been identified as actually depicting death.
  • Rumors of an upcoming live-action movie of The Simpsons have persisted. There were ideas for a live-action Troy McClure movie, but not a movie focusing on the entire Simpsons family.
  • There is a VERY odd and persistent rumor about a movie called Shazaam starring Sinbad as a genie (not to be confused with Kazaam). Despite there being no evidence of it existing and Sinbad himself officially denying it, hundreds of people claim to have seen it. This article goes into more detail. Note that the actor hosted an afternoon of Sinbad the Sailor movies on TNT while dressed up in a genie outfit during segments, a likely source of the confusion.
  • According to this section on this site, it has been mentioned that Michael E. Rodgers has worked with Matthew Broderick and Jack Lemmon before in a film that was somewhat released in the mid-to-late 90's. It is unknown if this is true or not, as the project was not included in their filmographies and there is no further evidence of this, meaning that it's an interesting mystery.
  • Brandon Lee died on the set of The Crow from being hit by a dummy bullet shell. Rumor persists that the film originally contained his actual death scene. It doesn't. The film used a body double in scenes produced after his death.
  • There is an urban legend that the piglets used in Babe all ended up sent to slaughter houses after filming ended. In reality, they were retired to petting zoos and farms.
  • Legends abound that Groundhog Day's filming was temporarily halted when the SPCA investigated issues revolving around the groundhog. A groundhog related halt did occur, but it was because Bill Murray was bit by the groundhog.
  • It's falsely claimed that the SPCA shut down The Shawshank Redemption for animal cruelty. This rumor possibly began because the SPCA suggested that, instead of feeding a crow a live maggot, they feed a crow a maggot that died naturally already

    Literature 
  • Legend has it that if you ask at SF conventions, you'll hear tale of some SF writer who created a book specifically to be as bad as possible. It turned out to be the exact opposite, since an entire cult of people sprung up around it demanding more, so he said "why the fuck not!" and made a career on it. Depending on who you ask this person was either John Norman (author of the Gor series) or Piers Anthony. If this is true or not is unknown but it's a well-known enough story that at least one book featured it as a foreword, and if you search the internet you'll find discussions of who the alleged writer is. And before someone asks: no, it is not nor has it ever been L. Ron Hubbard, nor Robert E. Howard (Conan's creator), nor is it Robert A. Heinlein. What sparse clues exist in the legend easily rule them out. General consensus does seem to point to Piers Anthony however, and his name comes up associated with it a lot.
    • For the record, Piers has denied it ever happened, and the series most usually associated with it (Xanth) origin was merely him playing with a long standing idea of turning Florida (his home) into a magical land. Additionally, the original Xanth was contracted for a trilogy (and is written as such, not a stand alone book), and only became a running series due to its surprise immense popularity.
  • Many rumors surround the original abridged publication of Stephen King's The Stand. The fact that it was nearly cut in half from the original manuscript (later restored in future printings) gave rise to the idea that the original draft had give King/his editor/president of Scribner horrific apocalyptic nightmares and they wanted the offending stuff excised, the government itself taking out stuff that too closely resembled their real life plans of action for such an event, ect. In reality, King was still a fairly new author at the time, and his editors didn't feel the public would accept a Door Stopper book from him. Once he was established as a mega-selling author, it was republished and restored (even then, King admits to editing some things out that he didn't like).
  • The book The Grapes of Wrath is said to have been translated in some countries as The Angry Raisins. There is no evidence for this.
  • It's widely believed that the reason J. R. R. Tolkien utilizes giant spiders as villains in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion is that he was intensely arachnophobic after being bitten by a tarantula while playing outside as a toddler. While the incident with the tarantula did really take place, Tolkien later said that he had no memory of the event and did not dislike spiders at all, even going out of his way to avoid drowning ones that accidentally fell in his bathtub. The real reason he incorporated the villainous spiders is because his son was terrified of them.
  • There is a bit of copypasta floating around the Internet claiming, among other things, that in E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker Marie lived in a loveless household, that she was depicted lying in a pool of her own blood after injuring herself, and that her parents punished her for it by locking her in her room until she admitted she'd been naughty. Only the second claim is true: Marie breaks the glass in the front of her doll cabinet and slices her arm open, and her mother finds her lying there surrounded by her dolls and passed out from loss of blood. Yet not only are her parents concerned for her health, but her worried parents confined her to her room solely because she needed to recover from such an injury, not to punish her.note 

    Live Action TV 
  • Long-rumored legend in the industry that Adam Carolla was fired/got rejected by producers to be the host of the US version of Top Gear (usually in conjunction with something racist/sexist/homophobic he supposedly said). In reality he was offered the job (or at least an audition), and turned it down because he was working on a separate TV project and didn't have the time.
  • Subverted in the case of The Newlywed Game. On a 1977 episode, Bob Eubanks asked "What's the weirdest place you've ever had the urge to make whoopie?" to Hank and Olga Perez. Hank said "on the freeway", prompting laughter and remarks from Bob. Olga, meanwhile, misunderstood the question and said "In the ass". Bob fiercely denied this ever happened, offered $10,000 to anyone who could prove it, and even had a T-shirt made (She Never Said "In the Butt, Bob!"), yet in the early 2000s somebody brought forth a videotape of a Game Show Network rebroadcast of the episode and proved its existence once and for all, and Bob admitted defeat.
    • Most likely Bob had had a hard time recalling the incident due to misremembered details told to him over the years — contrary to previously-held belief, the woman who said it was not black, did not speak with any kind of urban dialect, and did in fact say "in the ass", not "in the butt", with the offending word censored. The episode itself had been rerun on Game Show Network several times before, and the uncensored master tape appeared in the 2002 film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, based on the "autobiography" written by the show's producer, Chuck Barris.
  • Rumor that Zsa Zsa Gabor (sometimes another famous actress) came on The Tonight Show with her cat in her lap and asked Johnny if he wanted to pet her pussy. "Yeah, just move the damn cat!"
    • Another is the wife of a famous golfer talking about kissing her husband's (golf) balls before games for good luck. "I'll bet that gets his putter up!"
  • One long-held game show rumor involves a word-guessing game being played by a celebrity and a contestant, with the word in question being "Deer". The celebrity (usually Alan Alda, though others have been credited) gives the clue of Doe, and the contestant (usually an African-American) answering "Knob." No record of this ever happening on any show has come up, and complicating things further is the inconsistency regarding exactly what show it's said to have happened on — some say Password, while others say it occurred on a Dick Clark-hosted edition of Pyramid.
    • Speaking of the latter, rumor has it that during a break in taping one episode of The $100,000 Pyramid, Clark engaged on a conversation with celebrity player Dick Cavett. At one point, the other celebrity player, Jamie Farr, remarks how it feels to be standing between "two of the biggest Dicks in show business." Has never been confirmed, though what helps this rumor lean into the "not true" territory is the fact that almost never have the celebrity players been both male or female — one is almost always male, and the other is almost always female (the only exceptions being all-celebrity editions, with feature both a male and female on their team, and those only ever happened during the $10,000 era of the early-mid '70s).
  • A famous clothing designer (most often Liz Claiborne or Calvin Klein, more recently whoever is the hot clothing designer) went on Oprah (in the older incarnations, Phil Donahue) and said their clothes weren't designed to be worn by (inset ethnic group here, usually large African-American women).
  • There are MANY urban legends and rumors about Sesame Street. The Muppet Wiki even has an entire category about them. Many are also on Snopes and some of the popular ones include an episode where Ernie dies, an episode where Bert and Ernie get married, and Cookie Monster being changed to the Veggie Monster, all of which are false. The rumor about a Muppet character appearing that is HIV-positive is actually true. She does, however, only appear on the South African version of the show, where AIDS is a large problem.
  • Doctor Who has a few:
    • There's a long-standing legend that the original TARDIS police box prop was previously used in an episode or episodes of Dixon of Dock Green. In fact, it was built new for the show.
    • The "missing sixth episode" of "The Daemons", set off by an April Fool's prank in a fanzine. The somewhat abrupt and ill-explained ending of the story, combined with its unusual length of five episodes, led to a fan rumour that it was made as a six-part story and then had the last two episodes crudely edited into one. This had happened a couple of times earlier in the show, with "Planet of Giants", and "The Dominators", but "The Daemons" was written as broadcast.
    • 1960s Doctor Who in colour. Various rumours have circulated about parts of or entire episodes of Hartnell and Troughton stories being made in colour as unbroadcast technical experiments. This never happened. The probable source of the rumour lies with unofficial colour films of location shooting for a couple of sixties stories, which were made by crew members or fans.
    • There were several wild rumours involving the true authorship of the stories "Kinda" and "Snakedance", due to the unusually cerebral nature of the scripts and the fact that the writer, Christopher Bailey, didn't write very much else and quickly gave up scriptwriting for academia. It was commonly alleged in fandom that "Bailey" was a pseudonym for a very well-known person who didn't want to be known as a Who writer, with the most common targets being Kate Bush and Tom Stoppard.
    • A fan myth concerning "The Doctor's Daughter" states that incoming showrunner Steven Moffat learnt that the titular character, Jenny, was to be killed off at the end of the episode, and specifically requested that current showrunner Russell T Davies have her survive as he intended to use the character in the future. This is a result of Gossip Evolution: what actually happened was that Moffat made an offhand remark (after reading the script) that Davies had a habit of creating interesting characters then killing them off, and that prompted Davies to change his mind and have her come back to life at the end of the episode. When Moffat saw the episode go out, he was very surprised to find that Jenny now survived the episode, and was even more surprised to learn that he was the reason she did.
    • But the most notorious urban legends in Doctor Who fandom surround Missing Episodes, with wild tales of evil collectors or secret circles of Big Name Fans who own copies of missing episodes and refuse to release them to the wider public.
      • In November 2013, tabloids the Daily Mail and the Mirror reported as news that a copy of the seven episodes of "Marco Polo", the earliest missing serial (and one of only three to have no existing footage whatsoever) had been found, recorded off-air by a handheld camera pointed at the TV screen. This was presumably a Chinese whisper based on the fact that many brief clips of footage have survived via this method — filmed by an anonymous Australian fan using an 8mm cine camera — but certainly not any full episodes.
      • Ever since the rediscovery of "The Enemy of the World" and "The Web of Fear", the fandom has been plagued by the "omnirumour", which, promoted by some well-known American geek news sites, alleges that most or all of the 1960s Missing Episodes have actually been found, but that it's been kept secret because the people in possession of them want more money and/or because the BBC wants to keep a guaranteed home video income stream by "finding" them gradually over the next few decades.
      • The "evil collector" legend actually achieved ostension in 2015, when the missing episode hunters who recovered the Nigerian copies of "The Web of Fear" revealed that Episode 3 of the story (one of the most sought-after of all Missing Episodes, since it features the first on-screen appearance of the iconic franchise character Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart) had been stolen between their discovery of the episodes and their official removal from their original location.
  • When season 2 of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers came out, the remaining "Zyu 2" Zord battles Super Sentai creator Toei Entertainment had created specifically for MMPR were either edited to have the villains battle the mechs from Gosei Sentai Dairanger instead, or unused altogether. For years, rumors persisted that one of the latter cases, Bloom of Doom, had Lokar, the Power Rangers counterpart of the Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger Big Bad Dai Satan, appear during her Zord battle. In February 2014, MMPR director/stunt coordinator Jeff Pruitt released some of the unused Zyu 2 footage, including the Bloom of Doom Zord battle, in which Lokar does not appear.
  • There's one about El Chavo del ocho, very popular on YouTube, about how the original show ends with the eponymous Chavo dead after he gets hit by a car. This is totally false; the original run ended with the trip to Acapulco three-parter. "Street child killed by car" does happen in the companion book El Diario del Chavo del Ocho, although to a friend of el Chavo, and before the events of the show.
  • It's commonly assumed by Star Trek fans that the instrumental "Archer's Theme" was originally written to be the opening credits theme for Star Trek: Enterprise but was replaced by the Russell Watson cover "Where My Heart Will Take Me". Fairly plausible – it syncs up with the opening credits perfectly, and a variation plays over the closing credits – but not actually true: according to composer Dennis McCarthy he created "Archer's Theme" at a fairly late stage, and actually wrote it to match the opening credits rather than the other way around.
  • Legend has it that John Wayne was offered the lead role of Gunsmoke. He wasn't even offered the role, as it wasn't common then for film actors to also act on television.

    Music 
  • Paul is Dead! Probably the most famous urban legend in pop music, and warranting a full page at Wikipedia, this claims that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-and-soundalike. Supposedly, clues to this are sprinkled throughout the group's later work, especially their album covers. The very-much-alive Paul parodied this with the cover and title of his 1993 live album.
  • Along similar lines, there is a less well-known urban legend that when Mama Cass Elliot died she was pregnant with John Lennon's kid. This is not true. There was no evidence at the autopsy that she was pregnant, and she and John were never a couple anyway, they only met once very briefly.
  • Elvis Lives: The second most persistent urban legend is that Elvis Presley intentionally faked his own death and is still alive somewhere. This came out of the fact that his death certificate had numerous inconsistencies, and for a period of time various tabloids reported on people who claimed to have seen him alive after his death. Most of these claims have been dismissed as being results of distraught fans not being able to accept his death.
    • Elvis is far from the only musician to have this legend attributed to him. Others include Jim Morrison (as his corpse was never autopsied) and Tupac Shakur (since a good number of posthumous albums have been made, with some believing the music hinting at a comeback).
  • The Phil Collins song "In The Air Tonight" has an urban legend which takes the first verse more literally. The most famous version of the legend claims that Phil and a friend are at a lake when the friend falls in and starts to drown. Phil is too far away to help, but sees someone closer and asks him to save his friend. The other person refuses and Phil's friend drowns. In response, Phil writes the song and invites the man to his next concert. He sings the song directly to the man who then runs out of the concert and kills himself. (Other versions involve a man doing something horrible to Phil, his friends, and/or his family, and when the man ends up in danger of drowning, Phil remembers what the man did and refuses to help.) Phil himself says the legend is not true and he doesn't know where it came from.
    • On a lighter note, there are several theories as to where the title of "Sussudio" came from. Some claim that it was the name of a pony that Phil's daughter had, while others claim he got the title from someone (such as his daughter or an employee) mispronouncing the word "studio". The truth is much more mundane: it was a lyric that he improvised, and he liked the way it sounded. It was actually meant to be a placeholder lyric, but he never found another word that worked just as well.
  • There is an urban legend surrounding the song "Love Rollercoaster" by The Ohio Players. In the song, a high-pitched scream is heard (between 1:24 and 1:28 on the single version, or between 2:32 and 2:36 on the album version). It really was Billy Beck, but the legend goes that the scream was an individual being murdered live during the recording. The scream's supposed source varies from version to version. A lot of them involve Ester Cordet. This urban legend gets a subtle reference in Final Destination 3, which uses this song (including the part with the scream) in the roller-coaster scene.
  • "Gloomy Sunday" is also known as the Hungarian Suicide Song. The precise nature of the urban legend is a little different depending on who you ask, but the basic version is that the song can cause people to commit suicide. While creepy and sad, the song certainly won't make you kill yourself - not to mention that Hungary, where the supposed song-caused deaths occurred, historically has a high suicide rate to begin with.
  • Backmasking has resulted in a few of these, most famously the claim that "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin has hidden satanic messages.
  • In fundamental Christian circles, it's popular to tell the story of (X) band admitted to being approached by the devil and signed a contract to become famous musicians, but they had to give up their souls/put subliminal satanic messages in their music to corrupt the youth. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath (or just Ozzy Osbourne himself), Judas Priest and Mötley Crüe are the most popular targets of this rumor. Probably taken from the famous tale of Robert Johnson.
  • On that note, the same people like to say that AC/DC stands for Against Christ/Devil's Child (actually, simply taken from the back of the Young's sister's sewing machine) and KISS stands for Knights In Satan's Service (the band states it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin).
  • Same thread as above, various bands have been accused of bringing various animals (usually puppies) to a show and having them thrown into the audience and stating they weren't going to start the show until all the animals were dead. KISS and Ozzy got this one the most.
    • The rumors about it being Ozzy were so widely-believed he was cautioned by many local police about not doing animal sacrifices. His own real antics (biting the head off a pigeon, accidentally biting the head off a bat thinking it was rubber) didn't help this rumor at all.
  • George Clinton may or may not have told Eddie Hazel to play the first half of the solo that runs throughout the whole of Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain" as if he'd just heard his mother had died, then play the second half as if he'd then heard the news of her death had turned out to be false. The truth will likely never be known; a lot of drugs were involved, and Hazel can no longer confirm or deny anything on account of guitarist existence failure.
  • After Michael Jackson's death in 2009, reports that a guilt-stricken Jordan Chandler — the first person to publicly accuse him of child molestation back in 1993 — issued a statement claiming that he was forced to lie about the abuse by his greedy father began to circulate online. Snopes quickly debunked this one, and Randall Sullivan's biography Untouchable traces it back to an email a fan sent to Jackson's mother shortly after his death. Unfortunately, that hasn't stopped his brother Jermaine and rabid fans from continuing to spread the legend (in truth, none of his accusers have taken back their claims).
  • The band KMFDM's initials standing for Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode. Stems mostly from fan speculation that resulted in a reporter asking if it was true, and them in turn saying: "Sure, Let's Go with That." In reality, it stands for "Kein Merheit fur die Mitleid" (roughly "no mercy for the masses" or "no pity for the majority" in really poor German). The urban legend is referenced in their song "Sucks", when they state that they "hate Depeche Mode" among other pop artists, and the song "Kunst", where the chorus is "KMFDM: Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode". Of course, the band's full name can be found in the liner notes of their first album.
  • Kurt Cobain wrote at least part, if not all, of Hole's debut album Live Through This. Kurt denied this while he was alive, Courtney Love and the rest of the band have denied it, and there's no real evidence of it anywhere (other than that he sang and played along with a few songs in their rehearsals during recording). Essentially, it boils down to people who just don't like Love, and want to deny she has any real talent (since most agree the first Hole album is really good).
  • There's a similar misogynistic urban legend among Britpop fans that Damon Albarn of Blur wrote most or all of the self-titled first album by Elastica, the band led by his then-girlfriend Justine Frischmann. Again, there's little to support this except assumptions that women can't write music (Elastica took a notoriously long time to write a second album, but there are well-attested reasons why), and the songwriting is quite different from Albarn's usual style.
  • A famous singer/musician, Always Male, having to have his stomach pumped from blowing too many guys at a party. Usually Rod Stewart or Elton John, though in modern times it's been attributed to Clay Aiken and Justin Bieber.
  • A famous young musician being raped in their limo, usually by a bodyguard. Most famously attributed to happening to Lil Bow Wow.
  • When 1000 Homo DJs (a Ministry side project) did a cover of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut," they were asked to remove vocals Trent Reznor had recorded by his record label at the time. The urban legend is that, instead of re-recording the song with a different singer, Ministry's Al Jourgensen added additional distortion effects to Reznor's take and only claimed to have re-recorded the vocals himself.
  • Frank Zappa: The very first chapter of Zappa's autobiography The Real Frank Zappa Book debunks two rumors often told about him. No, he is not the son of Mr. Green Genes from Captain Kangaroo, just because the album Hot Rats (1969) happened to have a track titled that way. Similarly he never ate shit on stage during a concert - that was GG Allin.
  • Actor and radio/TV presenter Bob Holness is reputed to have played the saxophone solo on Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street. This is a legend that spun off from a joke made by DJ/author Stuart Maconie when he wrote for the NME. Adding even further layers of mythology, responsibility has also been claimed by another British DJ, Tommy Boyd, who claims he invented it for a 'True or False' quiz, and by Raphael Ravenscroft, the actual saxophonist, who was tired of being asked if he had played on the record and said it was Holness because he had recently worked with him on a TV commercial.
  • Overlapping with Live-Action TV, two different generations have a variation on an urban legend that a Former Child Star grew up to be a Shock Rocker:
    • In The '70s, a rumor spread that Alice Cooper was the eponymous character on Leave It to Beaver while in reality he was played by Jerry Mathers (and Alice's birth name was Vincent Furnier).
    • Meanwhile, in The '90s, a more popular legend spread that the incredibly nerdy Paul from The Wonder Years was now Marilyn Mansonnote . In reality, Paul's actor, Josh Savino, quit acting after the show ended to become a lawyer, but is amused by the rumor since kids think he's cool as a result. Mr. Manson... not so much.
  • On the subject of Marilyn Manson, that's hardly the only one to circulate about him. Other popular ones include claims that he had two ribs removed so that he could more easily suck his own penis, that he gave away free drugs at his shows, and that he injected heroin into one of his eyeballs in order to get his Mismatched Eyes (the look actually comes from contact lenses). He's also one of the many musicians attached to the aforementioned legend about throwing puppies into the crowd for them to kill. He is, however, an honorary reverend in the Church of Satan.
  • It's been widely rumored that Charles Manson auditioned to be in ''The Monkees". While this isn't as implausible as it might initially sound, as he definitely did have hopes of a music career, he was serving a prison sentence at the time that the show was being cast.

    New Media 
  • The Darwin Awards has a major collection of urban legends, debunked Darwin Awards that are just too good (or popular) to delete.
  • Snopes is one of the best-known websites devoted to these, with true/false assessments.
  • The Slender Man Mythos is a memetically-spread loosely-defined canon of horror fiction that uses the general trappings of urban folklore (missing children in the woods, mysterious stalkers, and the fact that no two tellings of the same tale are exactly the same) to pretty creepy effect. It worked, too, considering how many people think it's true.
  • The Shiny Pidgey Story is both a meme and an urban legend of epic proportions.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • For years fans believed that Goldust was behind the Attitude Era's caught on camera segments "GTV" to facilitate an upcoming return to the ring. In 2015, wwe.com released "5 WWE Myths Busted" debunking this theory and other long-believed behind-the-scenes WWE rumors. In the case of "GTV", Vince Russo revealed that the mastermind was actually meant to be MTV's Tom Green, whom Russo had a friendly working relationship with behind camera.

    Radio 
  • A very well documented urban legend is that the radio show "Uncle Don" had an episode where the announcer forgot to turn off the microphone and accidentally said to the kids watching, "That oughta hold the little bastards!". Snopes has a very lengthy description of this.

    Toys 
  • Transformers has a number of rumors, such as the one that there was that there was a "giant-sized" Optimus Prime figure released during the original G1 run (which was actually a Korean bootleg) and that a G1 figure or prototype was made for Unicron (which is sort of an odd combination of a misinterpretation of an Orson Welles quote and jealous children pretending to have a toy bigger than a rival's Metroplex). A G1 toy prototype Unicron does exist, and was first publicly unveiled at the BotCon '96 fan convention. It resembles nothing more than a blue basketball on legs, and is decidedly unimpressive. (A Unicron toy wasn't officially released until Transformers Armada in 2003.)
  • BIONICLE:
    • Cheap Photoshop-jobs of fake sets, often made to look like grainy pictures taken from a retailer's catalog, regularly caught on within the fandom, as have rumors of alternate builds of certain models being sold as separate sets. So when similarly fake-looking images of two supposedly Korean-exclusive Piraka combo model sets surfaced, there were many discussions on their legitimacy, especially since they were totally unknown in the Western world and their packaging also contained bad Photoshop work. These are now seen as real, since Korea tends to release their own multi-packs. Legit leaks of the line's unexpected 2015 reboot were also initially dismissed for this reason.
    • The same thing surfaced with the 2015 reboot, with claims of new Toa (including a new version of fan-favorite Takanuva), the return of the bohrok, and more showing up in the same grainy, out-of-focus manner as the originals. One that got dismissed as fake, ironically, was an ultimately cancelled Makuta set, which appears to have been planned for the series' third and final arc before being Cut Short.
    • Voriki, the "Seventh Toa", was a fan-made character created for a 2001 contest using recolored official artwork with a mask and a weapon obviously edited in Photoshop. Despite this, many fans believed him to be official, though the release of a canonical Seventh Toa in 2003 dispelled all rumors. Voriki has since become a celebrity of sorts among the fandom's original characters, and some have even made custom models of him with painted and 3D-printed parts.

    Video Games 
  • Polybius: According to the legend, supposedly a mysterious and rare Arcade Game, its gameplay being vaguely as some sort of Shoot 'em Up game, which had strange and rather adverse effects on the mental and physical health of the people who played it. The progenitor of all those "creepy/haunted video games" creepypasta stories found on the internet these days. Newer versions of the tale play it from a more supernatural angle than the Government Conspiracy implied in older tellings.
  • Pokémon has the urban legend known as Lavender Town Syndrome which is an urban legend about suicides in the nineties in Japan after kids played the original Red and Green versions and were driven insane by the song that plays in Lavender Town. A lesser version claims that there are higher-pitched tones that cause subtle discomfort and only children can fully hear, that were changed in the localized Red and Blue. While the song is certainly creepy, if there is any Brown Note, it's in all four versions — all the music is bit-for-bit identical in all four of Red and Green, Japanese Blue, Red and Blue, and Yellow.
  • Similar in ways to both Polybius and Lavender Town's music is a rumored Gameboy game called Misfortune (also known as Misfortune.gb). The story goes that it was never released on its own cartridge, and instead was hidden in other more popular games, only accessible by a convoluted sequence of actions or through glitches, and even then whether or not these attempts would succeed was random. Failing at the game would lead to a screen with music that supposedly caused depression and might even lead to the player's suicide. If you won the game, or failed but turned it off before the music in question started, you were safe.
  • It is claimed by some people that the name of the main character in the Donkey Kong video games was the result of a mistranslation and that his name was supposed to be "Monkey Kong". Word of God says this is not true and that the reason the character has this name is because "donkey" was simply a term meaning stubbornness to describe him.
  • Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were said to have created custom made Doom levels that resembled Columbine and peopling them with representations of their classmates. While it is true they made some custom levels, there is no reason to think they were designed like this.

    Web Original 
  • Most Creepypastas are this.
  • Many Darwin Award are the stuff of urban legend, both true (e.g. Lawn Chair Larry) and false (e.g. the Rocket Car).
  • Dark 5 claim that they report on true information, but they are known to deal in fanciful urban legends from time to time, reporting well-known stories as fact.

    Western Animation 
  • The original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! cartoon is full of these:
    • Shaggy and Scooby were meant to be a sly shoutout to stoners. In reality, the original writers of Scooby Doo weren't of that generation, and had little knowledge of the stoner culture. Shaggy was actually inspired by beatnik stereotypes (the real beatniks did frequently use marijuana, but by the time the show was made their pop-culture image had been sanitized of any associations with drug use).
    • The gang is supposed to represent five certain universities. One of the universities wasn't even established for two years after the show went into production. In reality, they are loosely based on the characters from the show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
    • That the creators intentionally put in Fred/Daphne subtext and that Velma was a lesbian. Neither are true. Anything between Fred and Daphne is pure speculation. The show was a No Hugging, No Kissing show anyway. It isn't until later installments that the series canonized the couple, precisely because of the rumors. Velma's sexuality was never discussed in the original cartoon.
  • It has been claimed that the BBC interrupted its September 1, 1939, broadcast of the Mickey Mouse cartoon Mickey's Gala Premier when the network ceased broadcasting due to the sudden outbreak of World War II. Supposedly, when broadcasting resumed after the war, the BBC resumed the programme at the exact point it was interrupted. While the cartoon was indeed the last programme shown by the BBC before the suspension, it was aired in its entirety both in 1939 and again on the day the BBC resumed broadcasting in 1946. The urban legend arose from a 1984 documentary about the wartime BBC in which the cartoon was interrupted for dramatic reasons, causing quite some viewers to believe that this was the actual 1939 footage of the Mickey Mouse broadcast.
  • A rumor was started for South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut about a deleted character named "Flower" who allegedly sends herself to Hell to let Kenny be freed in the end. While some fan wikis still circulate it and believe it to be true, it was actually based off of a fake "deleted scene" theory made by a fan to "fill in the gap" of how Kenny could wind up in Heaven at the end of the film. The same fan site had come up with other similarly wild fanon theories to explain the presence of commonly reused background characters in both the series and film. In the end, it could be best summarized as someone's Wild Mass Guess that was taken a little too seriously by portions of the fanbase.
  • The 1980s Dungeons & Dragons TV cartoon series is subject to a famous urban legend to the effect that the final episode (often reportedly never broadcast, although some people have claimed to have seen it on TV) reveals that the characters were actually killed in a roller-coaster accident and that the setting is Hell. The writer of the actual unmade Grand Finale, Michael Reeves, has denied this and placed his script for the episode online to prove it. (His script ends with the kids considering after being offered a choice whether to go back to Earth or continue fighting evil in the D&D world.)
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • Probably the biggest one is about the name of the infamous Eddy's Brother. There were rumors about his name being "Matthew", supposedly because the show's creator Danny Antonucci named him "Matthew" in a DVD interview. Many fans apparently believed that and even on this wiki the name "Matthew" was repeatedly added as "confirmed by Word of God". Except that there's no source for that at all and Antonucci's only DVD interview doesn't even mention Eddy's Brother.
    • It has one involving a Missing Episode known as "Special Ed," formed by an apparent hack on the creator's own website and editing an interview to add it. To this date there is still no more information known about this episode other than its title and it being removed for being "too real," and it still isn't fully confirmed nor denied if that was a hack or Danny Antonucci's actual words. Fans also believe that the episode was about Ed being in special education however that is simply speculation. The characters didn't finish summer vacation until a few seasons after the interview.
  • Some Sanjay and Craig fans were convinced by a long-gone Wikipedia edit that a character named Satine would be featured as Craig's love interest in an episode called "Snake In Love"; the rumor somewhat died down after the final 7 episodes were revealed, but Satine is still treated as an actual character in some circles.
  • For a while, there were a couple of people spreading news of a Transformers Prime movie called "Powerful Alliances" that was to come out in '15, creating a Wikipedia article and IMDb entry for it, and spreading bogus rumors on other sites. It was basically a bunch of fans trying to pass off their "dream TF movie" as real. Although everything about it screams fake, especially the amazingly Fan Wank-y cast list, not to mention that the supposed voice actors themselves said they haven't heard of such a project, the rumor became very persistent. After the Wiki and IMDb pages were deleted, another rumor started, claiming that it's been canceled, instead of not being real in the first place.
  • Similarly, sometime in 2006, someone made a Wikipedia entry for a Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends Big Damn Movie called "Journey to The Imaginary World" or something to that effect. It involved Mac and Bloo discovering a door to a parallel universe and going inside to find oddities like a green version of Wilt. Unlike the Transformers example, this one didn't stick, but it became Hilarious in Hindsight when a similar plot was used for the Made-for-TV Movie Destination Imagination.
  • There's a rumor amongst As Told by Ginger fans that Courtney was meant to confess to Ginger that she loves her near the end. Ginger doesn't feel the same and softly turns her down, letting Courtney move on with her life accepting she's gay. It's said Nick refused the plot, and they replaced it with the final ending. Alas, no one seems to have any concrete proof to where this rumor originates. It was apparently said at a convention in the 2000s however it's unknown if that's accurate or not.
  • Go Go Gadgetinis was allegedly the Darker and Edgier UK-only sequel series to Gadget and the Gadgetinis, despite fan claims that it was real, there is no evidence to prove it. It is rumored that whoever holds control over this long running hoax maintains several dozen accounts throughout the web, including information sites and art galleries, all under different or similar names. All information draws back to the member "Axel Alloy", a member fairly well known on DeviantArt, and the acclaimed voice actor herself. She holds several accounts online, specifically art galleries where her style is easily decipherable.
  • There is not a Gargoyles movie in production, but the constant faked screencaps and articles seem to refuse to let it go. You'd think they would have caught on by now when the first news of it came out April 1, 2014.
  • There is a screenshot of a Gravity Falls episode circulating around the internet that shows Dipper and Mabel with the Slender Man watching from behind. The screenshot is actually fake; viewing the episode itself yields no Slender Man.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • During the initial airing of the first season, there was a nasty rumor that Amon would reveal himself as a somehow-alive Aang, fueled by a very convincing photo of a supposed upcoming episode airing early in a foreign country. This was easier to believe because the last episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender actually did air early in foreign countries and had their plot points leaked to the west (the same thing would later really happen to Korra during its third season). In "Skeletons in the Closet," much to many a fan's relief, Amon's identity was revealed as someone completely different.
    • Similar to the young Albus Severus rumor in Harry Potter, a lot of people seem to believe that the young Amon seen in "Skeletons in the Closet" is voiced by Zach Tyler Eisen, the voice of Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender who went under the radar after the show ended. It's actually Jack Bertrand.
    • Prior to the airing of "Skeletons in the Closet", the episode was widely believed to focus on Zuko's life after the Hundred Year War through flashbacks. This misconception was birthed from the early info that Zuko's voice actor, Dante Basco, would return for the episode. He did, but only to voice General Iroh II, Zuko's grandson.
  • The Simpsons:
    • There have been rumors that The Simpsons is going through a permanent Time Skip where the characters have permanently aged and the children remain all grown up, and that the entire series is definitely planned to end, with a final episode coming soon.
    • There's a false rumor that a gag on the show about Butterfinger being terrible got Nestlé to pull their sponsorship. Actually, they waited until their contract with Nestlé had expired before using the gag.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine:
    • There are debates about whether or not a stock Marklin engine can be seen in certain Series 1 episodes.
    • Whether or not any footage from the pilot made it into the broadcast version of “Down the Mine”.
    • Based on some publicity photos, there was some speculation that there is a lost Series 2 episode called "The Missing Coach", adapted from the first half of The Twin Engines. An interview with David Mitton later confirmed that while certain scenes were filmed based on those stories, the episode was never finished because they worried the plot point of twins Donald and Douglas switching tenders would be too confusing. Now the speculation has shifted to which Series 2 episode replaced it.
    • For a while there were rumors that a full model of Flying Scotsman was built for Series 3's "Tender Engines", but the model was damaged and only the tenders make an appearance. In reality, budget restraints prevented the crew from building a full model.
    • There are numerous rumors about Thomas and the Magic Railroad, largely due to its Troubled Production:
      • The nature of cut villain P.T. Boomer. Originally he was only known from a Missing Trailer Scene and brief mentions in a tie-in product. One rumor was that he would try to tear down Shining Time Station to build a highway, and some sources corrupted his name as "Pete Boom". A lot of these misconceptions were cleared up once the screenplay was found.
      • Whether or not scenes from the script including George the steamroller and Cranky the crane were ever filmed.
      • The existence of a finished "director's cut" from before the film was re-edited.
    • Nearly every new series is preceded with rumors of a long lost character or location reappearing. On rare occasions, these are correct. However, after Andrew Brenner became the head writer and started consciously including older characters, the rumors became even more plausible.
    • According to a Reddit user, he said that he remembered seeing an earlier Thomas the Tank Engine film when he was a kid. He mentioned that the film was similar to Thomas and the Magic Railroad and had the 80's version of the song "The Locomotion" at the end of the film. It is unknown if this film is true or not, but it did sound like he was telling the truth. If this film is true, than it might've fallen into obscurity and might've been easily forgotten.
  • The episode "Pigeon Man" of Hey Arnold! is rumoured to have been intended to have the eponymous Pigeon jump to his death after finding his home destroyed by kids, but Nickelodeon forced the writers to change it because they feared it was too depressing. Show creator Craig Bartlett repeatedly debunked this, as they never intended Pigeon Man to commit suicide. Another rumour is the Pigeon Man flying away with his pigeons actually being suicide, which is likewise false for both the previous reason and his appearance in the sequel movie The Jungle Movie.
  • There was a long-standing rumour (included for a while on this very site's page on the show) that The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang was originally developed as an Animated Adaptation of Doctor Who, and that when negotiations with the BBC fell through, Hanna-Barbera threw in the Happy Days characters and created Cupcake and Mr. Cool as Captains Ersatzes for the Doctor and K-9. Eventually, the show's main writer denied it when asked, saying that the time travel concept was invented simply to make the show distinct from the original live-action series, and that he didn't think that Hanna and Barbera had even heard of Doctor Who.
  • There's a rumor that for one of Walt Disney's birthdays, two Disney animators drew a short of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse (or alternatively, Snow White and other Disney characters, usually the dwarfs) having sex. According to the story, Walt laughed, asked who made it, immediately fired both of them, and then ordered all copies burned. Whether the story is true or not is hard to figure out. Its source has been dismissed by many Disney historians and it's highly unlikely the short will ever resurface, if it ever existed at all.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • There was a very popular story that the show was really based off the ramblings of a schizophrenic little girl and what she wrote in her diary, which was found after she killed herself. It got to the point where both creators had to debunk it themselves, and even made a joke or two about it on Twitter.
    • An older one, in the same vein of the previous one, said there was an interview where the creators confessed that Candace was based off of Candace Newmaker, a young girl accidentally murdered in a 'rebirth session.' Considering the lack of proof of the interview existing anywhere, and that the show was still being pitched before the accident, this one was sort of obvious.
    • Another infamous rumor claimed that Doofenshmirtz was Phineas and Candace's biological father, and there was a lost/cancelled episode that confirmed it. This was also stated to be false by the creators.
  • Some time around 2013-2014, someone edited the Italian Wikipedia page for Baby Looney Tunes to mention the existence of two unaired episodes that are way Darker and Edgier than the remainder of the show featuring Zeno, Sylvester's Evil Twin who wants to kill his brother in his desire to Take Over the World. The page for the character was a blatant copypaste of the description for a completely different character sharing that name and the fact that it clearly mentions that Moral Guardians banned the episode only in Italy when there is no proof of such an episode existing in any language made the hoax obvious.
  • Another Wikipedia edit around the same time (though, on the American English Wikipedia) had someone claim there were more episodes of Garfield and Friends with Jon's (created for the series) niece Sharon in them, and that she was removed from the series in the later seasons and had her episodes edited because nobody liked her. Asides from this being a potential slam at Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain, it would be borderline impossible to cut her out of certain episodes where she was the main protagonist alongside Garfield, and many of these episodes she was in simply had her taking the place of Jon or Odie themselves in the 'edits'. Again, kinda obvious.
  • Around the first airing of the Steven Universe episode "Message Received", a screenshot from a Cartoon Network airing allegedly showed credits from a future episode featuring Jade, Garnet and Peridot's fusion. Such screenshot was soon revealed as fake.
  • A number of episode guides and wikis for PB&J Otter assert that there was going to be a TV-movie length installment titled PB&J Otter and the Legend of Snaildarter to wrap up the series. However, given that there are no other sources, and no known concept artwork or script material available from this, it may very well be made up.
  • The Mighty B Wiki lists a non-existent DVD and Blu-ray titled Stuffed Happens, supposedly released by Shout! Factory. Shout! Factory has never released the series, nor have they ever released a Blu-ray for any Nickelodeon show.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • There was a rumor that the original airing of the episode "I Was A Teenage Gary" contained a scene that depicted Squidward turning into a snail that was cut from later airings. An awkwardly placed transition that happens after Squidward gets injected with the snail plasma which then immediately cuts to Gary, SpongeBob, and Squidward on the fence as snails was often used as evidence that a scene was cut. However, a recording of the original airing debunked this rumor. It was also rumored that the Polish dub still contained this scene, but that was also debunked.
    • Rumors exist that the original airing of "Hooky" featured a dead fish being strung up by his shoes.
    • A popular image macro floating around shows an alleged Getting Crap Past the Radar moment in "As Seen on TV" where SpongeBob is buried with his nose sticking out from the concrete with Mr. Krabs replying, "Please tell me that is your nose," while pointing at SpongeBob's nose. Of course, the dialogue is fabricated.
    • It's believed that in the original airing of "Life of Crime", SpongeBob said "No more getting nailed." and it cut to Patrick hammering a nail into his head, before the line was edited to "No more getting mail." and the accompanying scene was changed with Patrick sucking his thumb in reruns.
  • It was once claimed that Happy Monster Band would premiere a third season in 2014. However, given that the show aired from 2007 to 2008, and that there are no screencaps of any Season 3 episodes, it's likely fake; didn't stop someone from making IMDb descriptions for the fake season's episodes, though.
  • There is a notorious urban legend to the effect that the classic British children's pirate cartoon series Captain Pugwash had characters whose names were offensive sexual puns like "Master Baytes" and "Seaman Staines". In the early 1990s, the show's creator won libel damages from two British newspapers for repeating the legend. Comedian Victor Lewis-Smith has claimed that he started the legend in a comedy routine, although other people claim to have heard it much earlier. Except for Pirate Willy, the characters names are incorrect in the urban legend (for example, Master Baytes was really "Master Mate").
  • There is a long-running rumor that there were plans in the early 90's to make an Alien animated series titled Operation: Aliens which supposedly had a pilot produced before being scrapped, based on a set of animation frames uploaded on a long-defunct Korean website. In 2018, the director and producer of the animation put up a storyboard on eBay and explained in the description that such a series never existed and that the animation was actually for three toy commercials, which ended up being unused afer the producer of the live-action portion of said commercials found a better technique to film the toys and opted to use that instead.
  • A rumor that was once on this very wiki was that in Oggy and the Cockroaches: The Movie the three cockroaches not only were Suddenly Voiced, but in the English dub they were voiced by Matt Hill, Samuel Vincent and Tony Sampson (the same voice actors as the Eds). All of this was proven false.

    Real Life 
  • A long-running German Internet meme holds that the city of Bielefeld is a hoax.
    • There's also the version that the hoax is a hoax. Sadly that one isn't quite as funny or well-known.
    • Its Italian equivalent is the statement that the region of Molise doesn't exist.
  • The cause of The Hindenburg fire is still unknown today. As such, it is positively drenched in Urban Legends, in varying degrees of ridiculousness. One of the most common is that Hindenburg was painted in "Rocket Fuel" or "Thermite", which is completely false, but a surprisingly pervasive myth. It may have such wide acceptance because the fabric of the airship was in fact combustible, albeit very weakly. Furthermore, some go as far as to say that Hindenburg's hydrogen had nothing to do with the fire at all, which is absolutely untrue. They usually cite the fact that pure hydrogen burns a pale red color, but they neglect to mention that the 250 tons of airship and diesel fuel is what colored the flames bright orange. A less popular, but still widely believed myth is that Hindenburg was deliberately sabotaged, and that bits of a gun or a bomb were found in the wreck. The Nazis themselves liked to propagate this myth because they didn't want to admit their safety failure.
  • You know characters like Bloody Mary and Slenderman? You do?! Avoid thinking on them immediately! If you DO think of fictional beings, they WILL become real eventually! Of course, this means that non-believers are safe to an extent, as they don't have enough "Mind Power" to keep these beings around them. But believers? They are likely to see, hear and feel them.
  • The popular myth that Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen, which was said to have been started by Disney animator Ward Kimball as a joke. Of course, that myth became less popular as the other myth of him being racist and anti-Semitic rose in notoriety. That myth was debunked by people who worked with Walt, but that doesn't stop shows like Family Guy from enforcing it.
  • Kevin Smith was too large to fit into one seat on one infamous South West flight. It was in actuality most likely a poor assumption on the flight crew's part; he had originally booked two seats (he stated he merely like having the extra room and he has the money to do such a thing), and when his flight got changed, they only had one seat available. A member of the crew most likely saw he had two seats on his original flight, looked at his size and assumed he needed two seats and had him ejected. He tweeted a photo of himself fitting comfortably in one seat when he finally did fly out (he live tweeted the entire experience), but it didn't stop the story spreading that he was simply Too Fat To Fly.
  • The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been rife with rumors about balloons/floats/etc. that are set to be "featured" in forthcoming editions.
    • Case in point: in the earliest days of January 2015, the parade's Wiki made a page announcing that a new Garfield balloon would debut in the 2015 parade... just barely over a month after the last parade had happened, at a time when only the marching bands that would perform were known.note  Information about new franchises to be represented in the parade generally starts to bubble during the summer, and gradually increases over the year until Thanksgiving month, when all of the elements come together. It's unlikely that Garfield will return to the parade.note 
    • Another article, surprisingly from an established site, reported that, among other things, there would be balloons based on Angry Birds, Mario, Optimus Prime, and R2-D2, plus floats themed around Disneyland's 60th Anniversary and Minions, in the 2015 parade. Of all of these, only the Angry Birds balloon was confirmed, as the other balloons were debunked via a leaked promo picture.
  • One time, a Wikipedia user edited Halle Berry's page with a quote saying something like "this new album will show people I can do more than act". This caused many news sites to erroneously report that Berry was to record a pop album, which forced Berry herself (who has no plans to become a singer) to joss these rumors.

    Military 
  • Long-rumored since the 90s that military boot camps are handing "stress cards" out to recruits to use when they are feeling stressed out, and when raised above their heads, the Drill Sergeant Nasty has to stop being mean to them. This stems from cards being given to recruits with various numbers of chaplains and the like to contact FOR things like stress management and counseling (there's a "stress level" thumb print on the back as well). Despite having being subject to these rumors themselves when they were fresh out of boot camp/basic, members of the military still spread the rumor to the newer generation of "soft" soldiers/sailors/etc.
  • A rumor stretching back to the 19th century is that boot camps put saltpeternote  (or some other chemical; in the Russian army, the legendary antisex treatment is bromide salts) in the food to control recruit's sexual desires (and also why the food tastes bad/is a funny color). One, it doesn't actually work, and two, the stress of boot camp is the actual reason sexual desire is so muted during that time.
  • A military member looking for a separation on a psyche discharge (Section 8) dribbled an invisible basketball/rode an imaginary motorcycle/what have you. When they received the discharge, at the gate of base/brow of the ship, they got off the bike/dunked the basketball and stated "I don't need that anymore" or something to that effect.


In Universe Examples

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ibitsu is about an urban legend.
  • In the anime Baccano!, the Mafia assassin Vino takes on the persona of the Rail Tracer, an urban legend about a monster that stalks trains.
    • Even better, Fridge Logic makes one realize that he is the one who started his own urban legend. Awesome.
  • In the manga Chobits, there is an urban legend that there are special Persocoms (humanoid computers) called "Chobits" that have real emotions and free will instead of just having emotions programmed into them.
  • Urban legends are a major theme of Dennou Coil, particularly how everyone tends to interpret them differently. Questions such as "Just what are kirabugs/Illegals/Michiko, really?" are asked and answered many, many times over the course of the series, and everyone seems to have a different version.
  • Durarara!! is in large part about these.
  • The 90's OVA Gakkou No Yuurei (School Ghosts): Each episode consists of several spooky vignettes, which are allegedly based on real experiences.
  • The manga Hanako and the Terror of Allegory deals with these.
  • K's Clans and Kings are regarded as this by people not involved with them. Some of this is scene in the first season, when a news channel interviews random people on the street about the Silver King's blimp crash and apparent death. A side story (K: All Characters - Sakura Asama) shows how this has exploded after the events of season 2, when the Green Clan attempts to give the whole world superpowers.
  • Kagewani has Professor Banba investigating cryptid attacks throughout Japan in order to determine if they are actual events or not.
  • Paranoia Agent concerns urban legends that are created and become increasingly real.
  • In Serial Experiments Lain it seems that Internet memes start leaking into reality, resulting in alien sightings, and suchlike. Also things like ghosts and The Men in Black seem to actually exist, though in manner slightly different than the legends would indicate.
  • Episode 4 of A Certain Scientific Railgun features two Urban Legends. One of them is the undressing woman and the other one is a guy who can nullify anything. You get to see the first one, and the second one is obviously the hero of the whole series itself: Touma.
    • Urban Legends tie into the plot of Railgun (not so much Index) a lot, as the girls seem to enjoy following Urban Legends as a hobby. Often, the legends have some grain of truth in them, and investigating the legend is what leads to the arc's conflict with some dark aspect of Academy City.
  • Gakkou no Kaidan (perhaps better known from the Ghost Stories Gag Dub) is a kid's Novel / Anime series about, you guessed it, traditional Japanese ghost stories set in an elementary school. Some of the legends are specifically about school ghosts (something the Japanese seem to have in abundance, given the important role school plays in their culture) and some are more generic, but all of them are explained in the DVD extras.
  • The manga Toshi Densetsu is an anthology in which various characters encounter various urban legends, some of which only exist in-universe.

    Comic Books 
  • The Big Book Of Urban Legends was a graphic novel anthology published in 1994, collecting 200 tales of "folklore for our times".
  • Sometimes Batman is treated as an urban legend among Gotham criminals, at least early in his career. Gets kind of silly considering all the other superheroes running around publicly, or when criminals don't believe a guy who runs around with the very public Justice League International is real.

    Film 
  • In film, the movies Urban Legend and Urban Legends: Final Cut deal with killers who take inspiration from these.
  • The Candyman series of movies, whose villain is based on the "Bloody Mary" legend.
  • The movie Dead Man on Campus has a plot dealing with the urban legend that you get straight A's in your college classes if your roommate commits suicide...
    • ...as did a lesser known film titled The Curve starring Matthew Lillard, Michael Vartan, and Keri Russell.
  • While many of the stories (especially the Cousin Walter stories) told by characters in Kevin Smith's movies may seem like urban legends, the only one that actually is based on one; Cousin Walter keeps getting cats stuck up his ass, in an attempt to get a gerbil out of there.
  • In Suicide Kings, one of the yuppie kidnappers tells one about the Retired Monster they're holding hostage, to stave off Lima Syndrome. It turns out to be true, except not as gruesome as the reality.
  • Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia starts off by presenting three urban legends as fact.
  • The film Grown Ups includes a scene based on the urine-detecting dye myth.
  • Urbania references many of these and is partially told as one.
  • At the very beginning of the first Saw film, one of the first things Adam does after waking up in a bathtub is to ask Dr. Gordon if he's got any surgical scars, convinced that someone has stolen his kidney. Dr. Gordon informs him that it's an Urban Legend; if someone had really taken Adam's kidney, he'd either be in excruciating pain right now, or dead.
  • The Cannonball Run has a scene very similar to a certain urban legend. It's the scene in which the Subaru team applies a little stealth at night by using a quieted engine and infrared goggles to drive and confusing a pair of police officers. The legend has this as a drug runner doing the same. It's unknown if the legend inspired the scene, the scene inspired the legend, or they developed independently.
  • The Terminal is based on the urban legend of a foreign national who's forced to live in an airport due to a bureaucratic screw-up. Notably, this is one of a few urban legends that's true.
  • Gore Orphanage is based off of the urban legend of the titular orphanage (which never actually existed).
  • The central plot device of The Ring, Sadako/Samara's killer videotape, is an urban legend In-Universe.
  • Lemon Tree Passage starts with Oscar and Jordan telling the American tourists the (actual) urban legend about Lemon Tree passage Road: that a motorcyclist was killed there by a car driven by speeding teenagers, and now a ghost headlight chases any car that speeds along that stretch of road at night. They later decide to see if the legend is true.

    Literature 
  • There is also a book called The Beheaded Freshman and Other Gruesome Tales. The lead tale (from the title) is about a freshman wanting to get into an elite club but the people blindfold him and kneel him down, saying they are going to behead him. They describe one raising the axe high over his head (the freshman thinks it is a prank) and then drop a cool washcloth on his neck. The freshman screams the moment the cool touches his neck (thinking it is cold steel) and collapses. Scared, the others call an ambulance; Seems the freshman had a heart problem that the others did not know and the fright caused a heart attack. Whoops!
  • Parodied in the Discworld novel Witches Abroad, which claims that, thanks to the Theory of Narrative Causality, not only do urban myths really happen, but they happen repeatedly. It also applies to fairy tale plots, which Nanny Ogg calls "rural myths" at one point.
  • Jan Harold Brunvand has written a series of books detailing urban legends, including The Vanishing Hitchhiker, The Choking Doberman and others.
  • British writer Jeffery Archer often uses urban legends as the basis of a story (although he seems to believe they are true). His short story collection A Twist Of a Tale contains several, most notably a story based on "the killer in the back seat". (Otto of The Simpsons actually told Bart and Lisa a more convincing version.)
  • Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series moshes together urban legends with other bits of folklore for a pretty gruesome mix.
  • Much of Barney's Version, a novel narrated by a man who slowly develops Alzheimer's as the book progresses, builds up the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Barney's best friend Boogie Moscovitch, with whose murder Barney is eventually charged. Throughout the book, Barney's status as a semi-Unreliable Narrator (both intentionally and unintentionally as the disease consumes his memories) keeps the events surrounding the incident shrouded in confusion. The final chapter, narrated by Barney's son Michael, reveals that Barney was, in fact, innocent - turns out poor Boogie fell victim to the classic dead-diver-in-the-forest legend whe he went for that swim!
  • Swedish writer Bengt af Klintberg wrote a book about common Swedish urban legends called Råttan i pizzan (the rat in the pizza). The book became so popular that Klintbergare is now an accepted synonym for an urban legend in Sweden.
  • A quite humorous example is a book by Art Linkletter, Oops!, or, Life's Awful Moments. Art regales us with tales of people's supposedly true-life embarrassing moments. A read-through of the book, however, reveals that a great many of these stories are in fact urban legends.
  • Author Daniel Cohen has penned a few books detailing urban legends: Southern Fried Rat and Other Stories, Monsters You Never Heard Of and The Encyclopedia of Monsters, to name just a few.
  • There Are Alligators In Our Sewers... is a collection of urban legends. But they get some of them wrong; for example, claiming that green M&Ms are poisonous when everybody knows that the reds are poison; greens are aphrodisiacs.

    Live Action TV 
  • In CSI: New York, the dress from a corpse manages to kill a bride on her wedding day.
    • In another episode, a college student killed his roommate so he could get an automatic 4.0 for the semester.
    • In still another, a corpse was found buried in the end zone of Giants stadium, in imitation of an Urban Legend about the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.
    • This show have actually dozens of episodes based around these; people killed by blue ice, by falling coin, etc.
  • In the original CSI, the crew finds a scuba diver in a tree after a forest fire.
  • To complete the CSI trifecta, CSI: Miami has a man killed by his cell phone sparking an explosion of gas fumes. It was fumes in his lungs from gas siphoning, rather than a gas station, but the mechanics are the same.
  • MythBusters, as noted above.
  • Weird US and the travel-log books its based on.
  • Supernatural bases many of its episodes on urban legends.
    • In fact one episode had a monster that was literally created by the urban legend regarding him. As the urban legend changed (as manipulated by two ghost hunters' website) the creature's powers and weaknesses changed too.
    • Another episode of note is "Tall Tales", where one college campus starts experiencing a number of urban legends coming true at the same time. Turns out the janitor is a Trickster god.
    • The fifth season episode "I Believe the Children Are Our Future" also features urban legend-based deaths. The culprit in this episode is a little kid named Jesse, who believes these urban legends are true, and somehow makes them true. The Winchesters discover that the reason he can alter reality on a whim is because that he is actually The Anti-Christ, though he doesn't really want to be.
    • There was also an episode where a man died when he "ingested" dozens of razorblades "hidden" in the Halloween candy he'd been sneaking at night, but in actuality it was witchcraft and good timing for the themed effect.
  • An SCTV fake commercial features Eugene Levy as a fast-talking used car dealer showing off the specials on his lot, all subjects of urban legends - "a Cadillac! Great shape...the damn thing's full of cement!...maybe you're handy with a cold chisel? $500 as is - you pay the towing!"...or a Mustang found parked in Lovers Lane with the driver hanging over the roof - "there's scuff marks on the roof - a little rubbing compound, it's all behind ya! $700!" At the commercial's end he does a comical Double Take at a prosthetic hook hanging off a door handle.
  • The show Truth Or Scare on Discovery Kids existed entirely of promoting this trope. Because we all know the Tower of London is haunted, right? RIGHT?
  • Animal Planet's Lost Tapes does this with cryptozoology.
  • An episode of Law & Order ("Sonata for Solo Organ") started out with a man waking up on a park bench, and discovering he's missing a kidney. Which some urban legend experts claim actually helped popularize the legend itself, which had been fairly obscure until then.
  • In an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent ("Art"), the killer of the week took advantage of an urban legend by killing her roommate and making it look like a suicide, thus entitling her to passing grades (not straight A's) in her final semester of art school.
  • The myth of waking up with an internal organ missing apparently survives well into the future, since Janeway and Chakotay discuss it on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.
    • In fact, it actually happens in one episode, when Neelix's lungs are stolen by black market organ sellers. This was lampshaded during Janeway and Chakotay's conversation.
  • The "toothbrushes up their bums" UL was the basis of the joke at the end of one episode of The Vicar of Dibley.
  • The Spike TV "docu-fiction" series 1000 Ways to Die features bizarre causes of death, most of them stemming from urban legends. These range from a vaginal embolism caused by a carrot dildo puncturing the vaginal wall and exploding breast implants to death by drinking acid instead of vodka.
  • Urban Legends tells three of these in each episode, loosely tied together with the episode's theme, as well as two random 'mini-myths' before the commercial breaks. The viewer is asked to guess which legends are real and which aren't. At the end of the episode (and after the commercial breaks for the mini-myths) it is revealed who was telling the truth.
    • Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction followed a similar format. The only catch was that some of the supposedly true stories were so unbelievable that one couldn't help but wonder just how thoroughly they had researched them.
  • In an episode of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids TV series, one of Wayne's inventions brings an urban legends book to life via Hard Light holograms.
  • Food Network Challenge has done an Urban Legends Cake-making episode for Halloween.
  • Britta tells the ever-popular "hookman" story in the Community episode "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps", featuring Jeff as the boyfriend and herself as the girlfriend. The story is played onscreen exactly the way she tells it, so it contains a substantial amount of Buffy Speak:
    Radio: In the news tonight, top story, an escaped convict from the asylum has escaped and he's mental and he's on the loose and stuff.
    Britta as the girlfriend: Oh my god, that sounds dangerous!
    Jeff as the boyfriend: I'm sure it's no biggie. But I am a horny man, so I'm only half present.
    Radio: He was last seen in the woods and has a thingy for a hand, a hook-thing where his hand should be, you know what I mean.
  • The Drew Carey Show had an episode where Drew and Kate got "fake married" as part of an old dare. The night's celebrations get called off early when Kate develops a rash and gets short of breath. Turns out the wedding dress she bought from a secondhand store had formaldehyde in it.
  • On Justified Raylan comes across an Organ Theft ring and gets mocked for believing in an urban legend when he asks a nurse about. The criminals avoided most of the usual elements of the legend and stole kidneys from the corpses of recently deceased prison inmates. They had the prisoners' medical records so they knew which kidneys were healthy and one of them had professional training in transplant procedures.
    • The one time they do the 'cut out kidney in a motel room and leave the victim in the bathtub' routine it is a ruse perpetuated so they can blackmail the victim by pretending to hold his kidneys hostage. They just made a couple incisions and sutured them back up
  • The Psych episode "Scary Sherry: Bianca's Toast" featured a fictional urban legend about a woman who committed suicide at an asylum on Halloween night and continues to haunt the place. It turns out that Shawn and Gus were actually the ones who started the legend when they were kids. They were with Shawn's dad Henry when he was called to the asylum and saw the woman on the ledge, but didn't see the part where Henry pulled the woman back inside to safety. They were overheard talking about the "suicide" at school, and things snowballed from there.
  • In A Scare at Bedtime, most of the stories Podge tells his brother are adaptations (usually set in Ireland, of course) of famous and well-known legends, usually frightening.

    Music 
  • Ludo's "Lake Pontchartrain" features a young man telling the story of his two friends getting swallowed up in a very predatory context.
  • Eminem has a song called "Stan", about the title character discussing the above urban legend about Phil Collins' song mistakingly called "In the Air of the Night" and the misinterpretation of the song's lyrics about drowning and not lending a hand.
    • Eminem also reiterated the UL about Lauryn Hill that she once said she'd rather have her children starve than for white people to buy her album (and/or she can't stand white people). This comes up twice on The Slim Shady LP.
  • Lemon Demon has a song called "Eighth Wonder," which is based on the urban legend of Gef the Talking Mongoose. The lyrics of the song are all the things Gef supposedly said, along with claims that he is the eighth wonder of the world.
  • "The Little Girl" by Country Music legend John Michael Montgomery is a song based on an urban legend of a girl whose atheist alcoholic parents kill each other in a murder-suicide before she herself is sent to a home raised by Christian foster parents who teach her to attend church, and one day she sees that the man on the cross (Jesus) is the one who came down to help her during the night of the murder-suicide.

    Other Sites 
  • In SCP Foundation, SCP-1448 ("LegendTripping") is an incorporeal entity that travels all over the world looking for remote places to inhabit. After SCP-1448 arrives in an area, it somehow starts spreading rumors among the local youth population that performing a specific magical ritual in its location will be effective, thus effectively creating a new urban legend.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In addition to an Urban Legends sourcebook that provides stats for Bloody Mary, dopplegangers, and sewer alligators, the New World of Darkness has Legends, a subset of slashers. They typically start off as Avengers, but then their hunt either spirals outward from a specific group to everyone resembling said group, or the rules of their hunt become so complex it turns into a myth. In the process, the Slasher becomes something akin to Freddy Krueger or Candyman. They have the power to gain strength by keeping close to the particulars of their myth, but find it hard to break their own rules.
  • Transhuman Space: The game assumes that urban legends not only endure in its 2100 AD setting, but in a world of high-speed, all-pervasive computer networks with occasional prankster "memetic engineers" on the loose, the phenomenon can be even stronger than in the present day. The Toxic Memes supplement describes some widespread or interesting examples.

     Toys 

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • Kevin & Kell's equivalent to the 'missing kidney' urban legend is a rhino waking up in a bathtub to find that his horn (believed to be an aphrodisiac) is missing.
  • xkcd, on the other hand, inverts the urban legend here.

    Web Original 
  • Charlie the Unicorn makes use of the "missing kidney" legend in the first video.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In issue 13 of Teen Girl Squad, So and So scolds What's Her Face for drinking a "diet brown" soda while babysitting, hysterically shouting "Don't you remember health class?! You'll microwave the baby!" while holding up a book titled "(strike)urban legends(/strike) i mean health class". An unamused What's Her Face retorts, "This is Diet Brown, not PCP." Health classes using stories of questionable veracity like this in an attempt to Scare 'em Straight regarding drug abuse is, sadly, fairly common in Real Life.
    • In the Strong Bad Email "winter pool", Coach Z relates how he had two students named "Redan-Jello" and "Grape Flavored Jell-O With Fruit Floatin' In It"note  and also that if you flash your high-beams at a car with its headlights off, it's a ploy by gangsters to shoot you.
  • CollegeHumor made a video with an "Urban Legend ER", including patients who got hit by pennies dropped from skyscrapers, had their kidneys stolen, ate pop rocks and diet coke, and urinated in the pool.
  • On Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, Gilbert Gottfried likes to bring up celebrity urban legends, usually lurid details about weird celebrity sex fetishes.
  • In Crossing Kevin's Crossing, Officer Eric tells the narrator a local legend about 'about tunnels beneath the ground and weird people that live there'. These legends supposedly go all the way back to the natives that lived in the area.

    Western Animation 
  • Freaky Stories is entirely built around this. "It happened to a friend of a friend of mine" was their Catch-Phrase, sometimes adding an extra "of a friend."
  • Gerald in Hey Arnold! was hailed as the "Keeper of Urban Lore" which were basically urban legends. Justified in the fact that many, if not all, of them turned out to be either true or having an explanation.
  • The Megas XLR episode "TV Dinner" has Coop and Jamie discussing the Pop Rocks/soda legend. Coop dismisses it, but it turns out to be true at the end of the episode.
  • In the first episode of The Venture Bros., Doctor Venture wakes up in Tijuana with a missing kidney. He then realizes he's already missing a kidney from a similar incident. "Not again!" He then turns HELPeR into a dialysis machine for the rest of the episode.
    • Later in the same episode, he is nearly killed by a chupacabra. Brock explains: "Chupacabras. Mexico's full of 'em." This is also a Brick Joke, as earlier in the episode he taught a class exclaiming through scientific theory that a chupacabra couldn't possibly exist.
    Rusty Venture: Now if you take the same math and apply it to the Catholic church, something interesting happens...
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, "Special Edna", Bart nominates Ms. Krabappel for the Teacher of the Year Award, and tells in the video submitted to the judges that she deserves the award for surviving teaching him. The judges believed the mere existence of Bart was an urban legend, so they accept the nomination.
    • Bart creates his own legend about a man at the school who one day snapped and made a soup from the children's heads. The story included an Art Shift and was very effectively creepy. At the end, it turns out "Dark Stanly" was real...
    • The "Pop Rocks and Soda" myth was Enforced in an episode where an angry mob was chasing Homer out of a candy convention. He takes a can of Buzz Cola, pours in a package of "Pop Rox", shakes them together and tosses them at the mob, yelling "See You in Hell, candy boys!" He then turns and does a slow-motion dive as the whole building explodes behind him.
  • The South Park episode "The Death Camp of Tolerance" has a subplot in reference to the mythical gay sexual fetish for anal insertion of gerbils, a legend associated with Richard Gere for no good reason.

     Real Life 

Alternative Title(s): Urban Legend

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