According to Wikipedia, an urban legend ‘is a form of modern folklore usually consisting of fictional stories, often with macabre elements, deeply rooted in local popular culture. These legends can be used for entertainment purposes, as well as semi-serious explanations for random events such as disappearances and strange objects.’
While these stories are entertaining, they usually do not have the key elements of the traditional myth or are about a legendary character. They also do not have the benefit of inner moral value or lessons needed to assist the philosopher (lover of wisdom) in their quest for truth.
They usually focus on a hapless victim of a specific, or vague, threat and is used to create fear or trepidation in the audience.
Urban myths also have a secondary effect, whether by design (if you believe conspiracy theorists) or not. They devalue the words ‘myth’ and ‘legend’.
The stories in Australia of ‘drop bears’ is used by locals to create fear in the minds of gullible tourist that koalas fall from the trees with the intent of attacking foreigners. Or, the tales of ‘yowies’ that live near watering holes and creeks, that take small children and animals and devours them. Along with the stories of ‘blowflies’ that can carry off sheep, white-pointer sharks in the oceans, and kangaroos hopping down the main streets of Sydney and Melbourne.
The effect in the minds of the general public is that a myth or legend is, therefore, based on erroneous information and is false.
The television show ‘Mythbusters’ is usually about ‘busting’, or exposing the truth about the myth. They are very effective in using a scientific approach to testing the validity of the science behind the myth.
However, using a scientific method to examine a myth goes against what a myth is supposed to be. A myth does not contain historically accurate information. It is the hidden truth or wisdom contained within the myth that must be understood and brings with it a spiritual truth.
The traditional myth about a legendary character is so much more than a tale to entertain or frighten.