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  • An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true. Despite its name, an urban legend does not necessarily originate in an urban area. Rather, the term is used to differentiate modern legend from traditional folklore in pre-industrial times. For this reason, sociologists and folklorists prefer the term "contemporary legend". Urban legends are sometimes repeated in news stories and, in recent years, distributed by e-mail or social media. People frequently allege that such tales happened to a "friend of a friend"; the phrase has become a commonly used term when recounting this type of story. Some urban legends have passed through the years with only minor changes to suit regional variations. One example is the story of a woman killed by spiders nesting in her elaborate hairdo. More recent legends tend to reflect modern circumstances, like the story of people ambushed, anesthetized, and waking up minus one kidney, which was supposedly surgically removed for transplantation.

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