"Where did this story come from?' Asakawa-san asked.
'Nobody starts these kind of stories. Whatever people feel anxious about becomes rumor and starts to spread.' Ryuji-san answered.
'Or people start them, hoping things will turn out like this.'"
Have you remember this line/this conversation in a famous horror movie that shortly explains an urban legend? Well, every time I watch the movie, it always gives me that feeling of fear. However, I still love it very much.
I am talking about the 1998 Japanese Horror film - Ring. The quote itself somehow explains the origination of urban legends.
Urban Legends (also known as Contemporary Legends ) are modern folkloric stories or false information or representation which affects the lives of people in a particular country where the said story was told. Those are stories which are accepted by people as true whether the truth is known or not. Not all urban legend originates from false gossips, some of them came from real life story or the story of the urban legend itself is actually real. They become untrue once the story was outraged and exaggerated or added with excessive details.
The Philippine urban legend stories focus mainly on paranormal creatures, business competition strategies, historical/famous figures, health issues, and western influences. These tales are similar to what Filipinos called as Kwentong Bayan, however, in a modernized way. Other names are Kwentong Kotsero (Driver's Tale), Kwentong Kalye (Street Tale), and Kwentong Barbero (Barber's Tale or Parlor Tale), which are often used to refer to stories of modern times. Mainly, the core elements of these stories composed of natural or supernatural events, heard from a friend-of-a-friend or foreign tale-tellers, and real-life experiences.
Some Filipino urban legend pictures the result of Spanish and Japanese occupation. The horrors brought by maltreatment of the two nation became the main reason of a legend. One example is the white lady in Balete Drive. It was said, she died at the midst of World War II. The Japanese soldiers raped her in the same place where she haunts.
No doubt that the modern Filipinos still remember their traditional lower mythical creatures even though they were influenced with western culture. Other example for that is the urban legend about the Manananggal in Tondo , the Sigbin as cure for AIDS, and the Ghost (White Lady) of Balete Drive. Each of them depicts traditional lower myths although in a modern setting and event.
The Proctor and Gamble's issue of being connected to a satanic organization which spread out from overseas to the whole country; the Romblon Triangle; the Alien Abductions; and Moviegoer scare are examples of western influences which made a large impact to Filipinos. Taking this as an evidence of affection to the outside culture, make the Filipino more modernized.
These legends also give cautionary effect to the people of what should they do to prevent going to that place and even buying that kind of product. But there are some legends which only give bad image to a company or to an individual person; some give meanings to why that person look like that of the famous one; and some just want to scare everybody. And because the country was composed of many different kinds of traditions and customs, every single group of ethnicity has there own urban legend.
A great number of urban legend stories can be heard in the Philippine provinces. Normally, rural areas have maintained the natural and unblemished belief of myths.
How does an urban legend created?
In the first stage, a real-life story became the talk of the town. In the case of a haunted place, people start a belief first by telling their experience on the said area. That's when people start to be anxious. Thus, giving birth to a rumor.
In the second stage, other people mix what they know on the story. They even add their own experience just to prove the genuineness and credibility. Thus, making people believe it is indeed real without a doubt.
In the third stage, the story became ripe. The true story is buried within the added stories. People accepted it without knowing the truth.
How will you debunk an urban legend?
Only few urban legends can be solved, especially if they are still young. Most of it, actually, is hard to debunk. Whatever you say, people will still believe what they know is real. Rumor is not like a disease that you can cure whenever a medicine is discovered. They continue as long as life stays on earth. They develop and evolve into a much more advance story. Till after a hundred years, these stories become folklore and myth. What do you think how Greek mythology was created? Ovid collected these legends into one book - The Metamorphosis.
The main purpose why the author created this blog is to enlighten those who believe in a particular urban legend; and tries to explain the facts within the story and reveal the truth.
This blog serves as a collection to the scattered Filipino urban legends around the country.
The author encourages Filipinos to contribute urban legends they know, share some details in addition to articles already created, help the author correct wrong information, and create their own articles.
Feel free to share them. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.