I currently have quite a long break in my work, so thought I’d take the time to make a recomendation, should any of you be feeling a bit bored.
Snopes is the Urban Legends reference site, and also contains the message boards, of which I am a member.
Have you ever heard the story about the exploding cactus, what about the dubious names for characters in Captain Pugwash, or the origins of the modern image of Father Christmas? Unlike many urban legend collections, which just aim to spread these rumours, Snopes produces careful research that either helps to debunk them, or to support them. Furthumore, each article is backed up with a bibliography, furthur information and a discussion on both the orignins and variation of the legend. In other words, it’s pretty thorough.
Of course the site is also bound to cause surprise, for I’m sure you’ll discover that you yourself have passesed along at least one mistruth. Not only this, but in some cases truth many be stranger than fiction, and some stories you may have rejected may have been based in fact. As an offshoot, you may find yourself regulary debunking the stories that pass your way, much to the annoyance of those trying to tell you that KFC isn’t actually chicken.
Yet it is in the message boards that the fun really begins; for here is the frontline in UL warfare. The latest legends will eventually find themselves here, where piece by piece they will be disected by forum members. The number of experts in one thing or another ensures that many accounts include first hand information, and that anything not facing the truth test will sone come to die. Meanwhile, the rest of the forums consist of surprisingly civilised discussions, general chit-chat, advice and discussion on the best from across the web. It is not unusual for me to catch something on Snopes before it spreads across the internet.