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Urban Legends Reference Pages

From Academic Kids

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The title page of snopes.com shows the numerous categories which urban legends fall into.

The Urban Legends Reference Pages (also known as snopes.com) is a website dedicated to determining the truth about many urban legends, modern-day myths, and other stories floating around of uncertain or questionable origin. Snopes is run by Barbara and David Mikkelson, a couple from California who met on the newsgroup alt.folklore.urban and married. They research their topics heavily and provide references. The site is organized according to topic and includes a message board to post questionable stories and pictures.

The Mikkelsons' work has been extremely effective in debunking widely spread urban legends. The site is referenced by numerous other sites, directing people to more information about various hoaxes, especially in regards to chain emails.

The site should not be confused with The AFU and Urban Legends Archive[1] (http://www.tafkac.org/), a similar site run by the denizens of alt.folklore.urban, which houses that newsgroup's FAQ.

The creators, in an attempt to demonstrate the perils of overreliance on authority, created a series of made-up urban folklore which they termed The Repository Of Lost Legends, whose acronym signalled that they were trolling. One fictional legend averred that the children's nursery rhyme Sing a Song of Sixpence was really a coded reference used by pirates to recruit members. (This parodied a real false legend surrounding Ring Around the Rosie's links to the bubonic plague.) Although the creators were sure that no one could believe a tale so ridiculous (and had added a link at the bottom of the page to another page explaining the hoax), eventually the legend was featured as true on an urban legends board game and TV show. Whether this meant their plan backfired or succeeded is in the eye of the beholder.

The name snopes comes from the name of a family in the works of writer William Faulkner.

External links

  • snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com/)
  • "Lost Legends" page (http://snopes.com/lost/lost.htm#false), hidden page, discussing the items in the Lost Legends category.
  • TruthOrFiction.com (http://www.truthorfiction.com/), a site similar to Snopes.com
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