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Many people have heard the tale occasionally alluded to in popular culture but most often imparted as a thing that really happened to a friend of a friend of the dotty grandmother who tried to dry off her damp poodle by placing it in the microwave oven The dog exploded sad to say and Grandma has never been quite the same since The story is not true it is an urban legend circulating by word of mouth since the 1970s Brunvand 108 Urban legends are popular stories alleged to be true and transmitted from person to person by oral or written communication Legends tend to arise spontaneously and are rarely traceable to a single point of origin And again they spread primarily from individual to individual through interpersonal communication and only in atypical cases through mass media or other institutional means Every culture has its folktales including modern America However instead of involving gods and goddesses or princes and princesses modern societys legends involve some guy my sisters best friend knows or someone who woke up in a motel room They happened supposedly to real people usually recently in a particular place They touch the most sensitive nerves of human psyches with ironic twists gross-out shocks and moral lessons learned the hard way However the most remarkable thing about these stories is that so many people believe them and pass them on Why does an audience take the storytellers word at face value instead of recognizing it as an urban legend The most significant reasons as to why this happens are how the story is told to an individual the relationship between the teller and the listener and in the case of horror legends the fear invoked through the moral of the story The particular elements of an urban legend play an enormous role in how it is interpreted by the public They are usually characterized by a combination of humor horror or a warning
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