Is it the truth or just another legend?

These urban legends have haunted us for years. Some may even be true unexplained mysteries waiting for an acceptable conclusion.

As I ruffled through my mail on a January afternoon I was dismayed to realize that the time for me to renew my driver’s license had come around once again.   I had been stuck with the same—I thought—awful photo for six years and was determined to get a better result this time.

Time was running out to make the deadline so I selected a day when I would apply strategic paint to my face and try for a cast-iron hair-do that lifted me up and didn’t wilt me. Now how would I do that—how had I achieved that in the Sixties?   It was quite the rigmarole, involving Dippity-Do and brush rollers, and backcombing.

I applied my third round of hairspray to the finished coif and this evoked an odd old memory of my mother. During that era, she had once come into my room, bringing me a newspaper clipping. It was a jab at my bouffant hair-dos. She had one of those grins. I had to dig up that clipping again to satisfy my curiosity. There it was, in an old jewelry box, but I could barely read it and there was not much information in it. It looked like it had been clipped from one of the two Dallas papers they read regularly.

The gist of the article was this: because of all the teased and plastered hairdos of the sixties, spiders were actually building nests in the hairy engineering feats, some of the spiders were poisonous, and some of the girls had died. I tried to pull up more of what I could remember about the tiny article—information that was not written.

It purported to be true, but as I recall, it happened mainly in foreign countries and was a rare occurrence. Yet it did happen—when people set their hair once, weekly, sprayed it profusely, then, wrapped tissue paper around it at night, like a cocoon, to keep it in place.

My mind then took other side trips, as my mind does: spider nests in hair-dos begat earwigs in ears, tunneling into brains, which begat big toes found in packed pickles, which begat little farm boys floating up into the sky right in front of onlookers, which begat alligators in sewer systems, which begat maniacs with hook-hands trying to get into cars on lovers’s lanes, and then there is the one about the disappearing hitchhiker.

These urban legends have haunted us for years. Some may even be true unexplained mysteries waiting for an acceptable conclusion. If you want to become more well read on the subject, might I suggest the book Too Good To Be True, The Colossal Book of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand.

He is the recognized authority on urban legends, appearing on The David Letterman Show on several occasions and as the subject of a riddle on Jeopardy. Brunvand’s book, two hundred and fifty entertaining stories divided into twenty-four categories, is an Amazon Best Seller available in HC and PB, 539 pages.

Sara Marie Hogg is the author of Curious Indeed, a collection of stories about the unknown and unexplained. Please click HERE to read more about the book.

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