Modern Legends: The Future of Folklore

The future of folklore

The X-Files


Cryptozoology is a modern form of folklore. It focuses on the search for creatures that may or may not exist, such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. These stories have been around for centuries, but they have taken on new life in recent years due to advances in technology. Cryptozoologists use scientific methods to investigate sightings of these mysterious beasts, often relying on eyewitness accounts or photographic evidence.

In recent years, many people were captivated by the story of Mokele-mbembe – an alleged dinosaur living in Central Africa’s Congo Basin. This creature inspired countless expeditions and documentaries, giving rise to a new generation of monster hunters who seek out evidence for its existence. Similarly, sightings of Bigfoot continue to be reported around North America. Whether these monsters are real or not remains up for debate, but many people enjoy the idea that there are mysteries waiting to be solved.

Alien encounters

UFOs and alien abductions are a popular topic in modern folklore, with stories of mysterious lights in the sky and strange creatures from other planets. These tales often feature themes of otherness, mystery, and transportation to other worlds.


One example is the story of Betty and Barney Hill – an American couple who claimed to have been abducted by aliens in 1961. Their story has since become one of the most famous cases of alien abduction ever reported, inspiring countless books, films, and television shows over the years.

Another widely-shared tale is that of Area 51 – a secret military base located deep within Nevada’s desert which many believe houses evidence for extraterrestrial life forms. This story has captivated people around the world, and while there is no real proof that alien evidence exists at this location, it is treated almost like a mysterious other realm.

Modern media

Pop culture has played a major role in the spread of urban legends, with films and television shows often featuring mysterious creatures or supernatural elements. For example, the X-Files franchise popularized the concept of alien abductions.

The internet has also revolutionized the speed at which folklore can spread. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have allowed stories to be shared quickly and globally, reaching a much wider audience than ever before.

The internet also allows for greater scrutiny of these tales, with skeptics able to debunk false claims and stories. However, the skeptics are usually fighting a losing battle. Often, by the time they debunk an urban myth, it has already spread around the world.

Hoaxes and lies


Modern folklore is amplified by the ease with which hoaxes can now be created. Fake photographs and videos are easier to forge than ever before, thanks to modern editing software, and are often used to start and perpetuate urban myths.

For example, in 2020 an image circulated online claiming to show a giant alligator walking across a golf course in Florida – although this was later revealed to be fake. Similarly, reports of ‘zombie deer’ have been shared widely on social media platforms despite there being no scientific evidence that such creatures exist.

The power of these hoaxes lies in their ability to tap into our collective fear and curiosity about the unknown; they offer us tantalizing glimpses into what might be lurking beyond our everyday reality. This is why, even when we suspect that something is false or exaggerated, we still find ourselves drawn towards it.

An example: Slenderman

The story of Slenderman is a perfect example of modern folklore. The character was created in 2009 by Eric Knudsen as part of an online competition, and quickly gained popularity on the internet. As more people shared their own versions of the story, it began to take on a life of its own.

Slenderman has become so popular that he has been featured in films, television shows and video games, further increasing his reach to new audiences around the world. His influence even extended beyond entertainment media; in 2014 two twelve-year-old girls from Wisconsin attempted to murder their friend after being inspired by Slenderman’s mythology. This incident highlighted just how powerful – and dangerous – modern folklore can be.

An example: Momo

The Momo Challenge is a modern folktale which spread quickly through social media. It began in 2018, when an image of a creepy-looking woman with bulging eyes started appearing on WhatsApp and YouTube.

Supposedly, children were contacted by the figure, who gave them instructions to complete increasingly dangerous tasks such as self-harm or suicide. This story quickly gained traction online, even though there was no evidence that anyone had actually been contacted.The story was debunked by experts as a hoax, but not before it managed to cause widespread panic among parents and children alike.

Will modern folklore endure?


The future of urban legends is uncertain, as it remains to be seen whether they will endure in the same way that traditional folktales have. While modern folklore has been able to spread quickly and widely through social media platforms, this does not necessarily mean that these stories will remain popular for generations to come. Due to their dark themes and lack of any moral or spiritual depth, modern tales may not have the same staying power as traditional ones.

One thing is certain: social media has given us a powerful platform for sharing modern folklore, and people must remember to use that power responsibly. Throughout history, stories have often been a force for good, but they can also lead to fear and despair if they are not handled with care.

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