Urban Legends: Strange Stories Behind Modern Myths


232 pages
ISBN 1-894877-41-1
DDC 398.2





Illustrations by Aaron Norell
Reviewed by Peter Harmathy

Peter Harmathy teaches fine arts in Victoria, B.C.


Urban Legends is a collection of 40 stories that defy logic but are
passed on as truth. We’ve all heard them in their many permutations,
such as the fried rat in the bucket of chicken, the cow that fell from
the sky, or the scuba diver who was sucked up by a fire-dousing plane.
Mott’s stories—all of unknown origin—are organized in five
chapters, and supported with numerous amusing black-and-white
illustrations. Each story is annotated with some research about its
history, related versions, and some conjecture about its social
function. A sixth chapter consists of eight incredible stories that have
proven to be true.

Urban legends are myths that are continually transformed to suit the
public’s current state of paranoia—like modern-day cautionary fairy
tales. With terrorism and certain government pronouncements reading high
on our fear meters, this book is a timely reminder of the gullible
nature of human beings, proving that the world is much safer than we are
led to believe.


Mott, A.S., “Urban Legends: Strange Stories Behind Modern Myths,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed October 26, 2021, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15114.