I just heard the weirdest thing…
Contemporary (“urban”) legends are one of the most pervasive forms of folklore in active circulation, but they are far from a modern phenomenon. The same processes of using narrative to communicate and negotiate anomalous experiences can be traced back thousands of years. Contemporary legends are contemporary to the teller and audience, not solely to the scholar. And what had been thought of as purely local narratives were found to exist in multiple manifestations throughout the world.
In order to gain a better understanding of the dynamics and function of these “contemporary” genres, scholars have recognized the need for worldwide links among legend and rumor scholars. The International Society for Contemporary Legend Research (ISCLR) encourages study of so-called “modern” and “urban” legends, and also of any legend that circulates actively. Members are especially concerned with ways in which legends merge with life: real-life analogs to legend plots, social crusades that use legends or legend-like horror stories, and search for evidence behind claims of alien abductions and mystery cats. We invite all who have an interest in these areas to join us.
To join please write the Secretary:
Elissa R. Henken
Department of English
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602