It was suggested in another thread that it would be interesting, informative and useful to come up with a list and/or discuss what JB has called “rural legends.” These would be similar to the well known term “urban legends,” but they would be much more common in rural areas and deal with the outdoors — wildlife, hunting and fishing, farming, grazing, politics related to these things.
So let’s see if we can discover some.
Already a number or people have described the belief that the state wildlife department or the federal government is dropping, transplanting, turning loose, various kinds of undesirable animals in rural areas.
I first heard this rumor in Idaho in the early 1980s when there was the persistent rumor that Idaho Fish and Game was turning loose “bad” grizzly bears from Yellowstone Park onto Coolwater Ridge, which is a tall and broad ridge between the Selway and Lochsa Rivers in north central Idaho — hundreds of miles from Yellowstone Park.
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– more (important) – A rural legend would be a sub-class of urban legends according the the Wikipedia article on urban legends. “Despite its name, a typical urban legend does not necessarily originate in an urban setting. The term is simply used to differentiate modern legend from traditional folklore in preindustrial times. For this reason, sociologists and folklorists prefer the term \'”contemporary legend.’ ”
Urban and rural legends are not the same as myths, but they are related. Once again, from the Wikipedia,
The earliest term by which these narratives were known, “urban belief tales,” highlights what was then thought to be a key property: they were held, by their tellers, to be true accounts, and the device of the FOAF was a spurious but significant effort at authentication. The coinage leads in turn to the terms “FOAFlore” and “FOAFtale”. While at least one classic legend – the “Death Car” — has been shown to have some basis in fact, folklorists as such are interested in debunking these narratives only to the degree that establishing non-factuality warrants the assumption that there must be some other reason why the tales are told and believed. As in the case of myth, these narratives are believed because they construct and reinforce the of the group within which they are told, or “because they provide us with coherent and convincing explanations of complex events” For this reason, it is characteristic of groups within which a given narrative circulates to react very negatively to claims or demonstrations of non-factuality; an example would be the expressions of outrage by police officers who are told that adulteration of Halloween treats by strangers is extremely rare, if it has occurred at all, or the vehement responses.