How to Create a Paranormal Mystery: Dissemination of an Urban Legend

How to Create a Paranormal Mystery: Dissemination of an Urban Legend

Not too long ago, I discovered a place hidden from prying eyes. It was off the beaten path and without direct permission from the owner no one is allowed to trespass on the property.

In one of my forays out back, I discovered a cave. Well, not so much a cave as a tunnel, really. I tried peering in, but it was immediately evident that the twisting nature beyond the opening would make it impossible to discern it’s details without venturing at least a portion of the way in.

I was not comfortable with that idea.

Normally it wouldn’t have taken more than a moment’s notice before having it vanish utterly from my thoughts, usually within an hour at most. However, something about this tunnel felt odd. It was a strange feeling, like a tingle in the back of my mind, a weird and uncomfortable sensation as though I shouldn’t be here.

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Days later I found that the tunnel didn’t vanish from my thoughts. Not only did the tunnel cease to vanish, it instead took root in the soft tissue deep inside my skull and started to grow.

Over the next few weeks it continued to grow. Long branches, with cutting thorns burrowed into my every waking thought. It was unbearable. I had to return and see the tunnel again.

This time around I was more apprehensive. It was like something was waiting there for me; as if I would round the bend and see something that I know shouldn’t there.

The entrance to the tunnel seemed gloomier, even though the sun was higher in the sky this time. Then there was also this horrid smell. This smell was definitely not there the last time.

My first thought was that this was the den of some animal. A sound echoed from within and I decided to back off to a safe distance, in case something big and rabid decided to rush out and attack me.

The problem was that this smell was not a typical animal smell. I’ve been around animals and hunters ever since I was young and the smell coming out of the cave was more… rancid. It was the smell of death.

Again, I decided not to venture into the cave.

In the next two weeks I found myself with plenty of spare time to mess around, so I decided to make it part of my routine to visit the tunnel… again.

What I discovered over the next six or seven visits was that the smell of death was continuous. This smell, it immediately set off warning bells. A single dead animal could not give off such a strong and unrelenting stench.

I have no idea what came over me at that very moment. There was this sudden and irrational dread that burned through me. It started at the soles of my boots and flared up through my legs, my guts, my chest, out into my arms and up and into my head. Before I knew it, I was far away from there.

After some thought, I decided to get another opinion, but I was reluctant to divulge the location of the tunnel for fear of having groups of over zealous enthusiasts trespassing on private property.

Finally finding a great local group of ghost hunters (which is an impossible task given the terrible state of the paranormal groups in my area) I joined their forum and posted my questions.

The replies and feedback were quick and thoughtful. I tried to be as vague as possible as not to bias any of their opinions. The information that I gave them is the nigh exact to the information I have outlined above.

In the ensuing buzz I was propositioned by several forum members, asking if I would take them there to conduct a paranormal investigation. I was also offered theories as to the location and it’s ties to sacred Native American burial grounds. These were all interesting ideas. However, the best explanation came from one particular forum member. He proposed this concept:  that the tunnel could possibly be the dumping ground for bodies. A “mafia tunnel,” so to speak. This idea seemed caught on like wild fire and suddenly my tunnel had a name – The Mafia Tunnel.

The discussions lasted for several more days, the Mafia Tunnel still maintaining the lead as the strongest plausible rationalization.

 

It has always been interesting to me as to how legends come into being. Where do these stories come from and how do they evolve into the tales we tell and pass on to others so they in turn can pass it on? And on. And on.

What I learned from the Mafia Tunnel experience was fascinating, really. When you consider the evidence as it was related at the beginning of this article, you will notice two things:

First, there is absolutely no reference to paranormal activity. It would seem that by simply posting these details on a paranormal forum, the inclination to assume that the events are paranormal-related is a given. Only a rare handful of forum members questioned the paranormal connection, while the majority ate it up and processed the information into something ghostly.

Secondly, and far more disturbing, is the fact that when you go back and re-read the ‘evidence’, you will be unable to do so without picturing me describing homoerotic apprehensions involving my own ass.

When you consider all the rumors, the myths and the stories out there; all those reputedly haunted places, those ghostly encounters people re-tell; you have to stop and really ask yourselves: where did these urban legends comes from? How did they come to life? How many others are nothing more than homoerotic misadventures, twisted by nothing more than fate placing them on a paranormal forum instead of a gay pride forum?

So, what the hell is the point of all this; aside from spreading the legend of the Mafia Tunnel to you?

Not everything that we hear is true.

If I were to finish this off with a moral, it would definitely be..

Question everything.


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2 Comments

  1. Brandy

    12/22/2008 at 9:24 AM

    About three years ago, the SPIRITS of St. Petersburg also started to do urban legend investigation. (This was at the time when the ghost investigation field became so packed with “new” teams that we wanted to try something new….then “Mythbusters” came out. Well, that was a decent show so I can’t complain!)

    Anyway, I did research on urban legends starting with the books published in the 1980’s (“Curses, Broiled Again”, among others) by Jan Harold. I believe that this was the individual who actually coined the term “urban legend” (but I’d need to research that).

    I’ve found them fascinating. We still do these investigations as time permits and we’ve found countless variations on certain themes. For those interested, feel free to check out the site:
    http://urbanlegendsofflorida.homestead.com/home.html

  2. Justin

    01/02/2009 at 5:35 PM

    Love the perspective on the writing and the example was the best to introduce it all!

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