Urban Legends and Folklore

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

In these posts, I will provide a list of books I think anyone interested in the paranormal would benefit from reading. Each list will be arranged by topic and will be accompanied by some notes of my own. Enjoy!

  • Brunvand, Jan Harold. Too Good to be True: The Colossal Book of Urban Legends. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999.
  • Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and their Meanings. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1981.
  • Genge, N. E. Urban Legends: The As-Complete-as-One-Could-Be Guide to Modern Myths. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000.
  • Koven, Mikel J. Film, Folklore and Urban Legends. Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, 2007.
  • Tucker, Elizabeth. Haunted Halls: Ghostlore of American College Campuses. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2007.

Believe it or not, there is an academic field that seriously investigates the ghost stories of places like Moon Point Cemetery; it is called Folklore Studies. No paranormal enthusiast would be complete without a basic knowledge of this field. Folklorists have been collecting and analyzing these stories for a long time, albeit for a different reason than the ghost hunters. Before you bring all that expensive equipment to investigate your local Crybaby Bridge, you should know that the legend of Crybaby Bridge is actually a folklore archetype that appears all over the United States. Not surprisingly, this is true of a lot of places that are rumored to be haunted in Illinois. If you are going exploring, it is important to learn about these urban legends ahead of time.


Interested in the ghostly legends and lore of Illinois? Check out Michael Kleen’s book Paranormal Illinois. Paranormal Illinois presents in-depth and original research on some of Illinois’ most unusual tales, including the phantom lady of Kennedy Hill Road, the headless horseman of Lakey’s Creek, and the ghost of Ange Milner. Chapters on Archer Avenue, Manteno State Hospital, Ashmore Estates, Airtight Bridge, Devil’s Gate, and other infamous places present information and interviews never before seen in print. Fun, informative, and greatly entertaining, this painstakingly researched book leaves no ghost unturned.


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