Human beings, from time immemorial, are attracted to stories that are mysterious, uncanny, bizarre, dark and preternatural. Urban legends or contemporary myths wield a similar fascination because they directly appeal to our sense of wonder and superstition.
We cannot help but be affected by such experiences because we feel that they are not beyond the realm of probability. We know that certain tales that were apocryphal at one time are documented truths, at present. We know that people were actually buried alive because medical science then was not advanced enough to detect the difference between corpses and coma victims perhaps. We shiver to imagine what those unfortunate souls might have suffered when they had opened their eyes in the dark coffins, six feet under the earth, screaming madly for help and living through the horrors of hell.
The very likelihood of us encountering such terrors in real life accentuates our interest in urban legends. We have heard of the traveler who woke up in an unfamiliar room, with an excruciating pain in his lower back and discovered that one of his kidneys had been harvested by human organ traffickers. We also are familiar with the story of the man who while playing a trick on Halloween, hung himself by accident and died, or even the naughty things that red diesel suppliers at gas stations have been up to. These urban legends have all the trappings of ghastly reality.
Even modern folklores that are far-fetched and implausible hold a certain amount of interest for us because we tend to be captivated by things unexplained and unknown. The legend of Bloody Mary warns us of the grisly fate that awaits us all, if we stand in front of a mirror and chant the cursed name three times. There is another legend of a serial murderer who calls himself ‘Monkeyman935’ and emails his potential victims.
It is of no importance that urban legends are mostly unauthenticated and falsehoods. As long as they capture our imagination and satisfy our appetites for fear, suspense, and excitement, we will listen avidly to such tales and even tell them with much relish.