What's Your Local Urban Legend / Folklore / Myth?

mejane

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#91
The Hanging Tree

My primary school had a large L-shaped playing field looking onto farmland. The smaller arm of the L was hidden from the school buildings by a tall line of trees so natually had the advantage that we little tinkers could get into mischief there without being seen. But... only the very brave would ever venture very far into the area because from there you could see The Hanging Tree on the neighbouring farm - a dead and blackened tree which stood alone in the middle of the field.

The legend was that the farmer hanged babies and children from the branches and now their ghosts haunted the area and anyone caught looking at the tree would suffer the same fate... scared me silly as a child and I never did manage to walk to the end of the field (despite many dares). Funnily enough, the tree was clearly visible from the road, but that didn't count - you had to be in the school field for the curse to work!

Sadly (?) the farm has long since been over taken by a housing estate and by-pass so the tree is no longer there.

J.

Afterthought: the building of the by-pass (part of the A40) was apparently delayed when bodies were unearthed....hmmmm.
 

minordrag

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#92
Near where I live is a place known far and wide as "The Devil's Tramping Ground." It is a circular path in which no vegetation will grow. Apparently, objects left on the path will be mysteriously removed. It all sounded good and spooky until I visited the place and saw how amazingly lame it was. It was just a dumb circular path! What would the Devil be doing walking around in circles anyway when there's so much more "sexy" mischief he could get up to?
Anyway, that's our little myth. :rolleyes:
 
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Anonymous

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#93
local urban legends

A friends brother suffered a marriage breakup,his former wife met up with a practioner of black magic(thats how the story goes).After a while they have a child(according to my friend it was an evil little hellspawn too).So the grandparents using bribery con them into getting the child baptised at Junee Catholic Church. During the ceremony they walk to the font that weighed 1/2 tonnes and made of stone,no earthquake , or disturbance of any kind,the font falls on the kid and kills it.The font had been sitting there sucessfully for a 100 years.My friend says there are just some things a baptisimal font wont do!
 

intaglio

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#94
Minor Drag said:
Near where I live is a place known far and wide as "The Devil's Tramping Ground." It is a circular path in which no vegetation will grow. Apparently, objects left on the path will be mysteriously removed. It all sounded good and spooky until I visited the place and saw how amazingly lame it was. It was just a dumb circular path! What would the Devil be doing walking around in circles anyway when there's so much more "sexy" mischief he could get up to?
Anyway, that's our little myth. :rolleyes:
In older farmland in and around Essex (UK) the fields often have a patch that is uncultivated. I asked a local about these and and he said it was the devils ground left so the devil would not cause problems with the rest of the crop.
 

minordrag

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#95
Sort of like setting a place for an absent friend.

Here, although we're surrounded by farmland, the "tramping ground" is in the woods, and instead of being uncultivated, is apparently dead earth--nothing grows.

Don't get the impression that it's not lame, though.
 
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Anonymous

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#96
other unusd land

Near where my parents stay there is a feiry ring. There is no legend assosated with it however but...there was once an Abby in the same aria and it is rumored that if you go there late at night you see the monks walkimng around. More Fucking monks, will we ever hear the end of them?
 
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Anonymous

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#97
urban legends

This is a true story,in the southern part of Australia we have many dams to control water distribution in summer.Divers regually go down to check the concrete ones for cracks,and to perform body retrivals from drownings.Hume Weir (largedam -concrete wall) has the reputation of having an agressive pack of cod near the wall.Divers have defered on the side of caution and had to relinguish bodies retreived to the cod school who dont like their tea being ripped off.An old wives tale you say, Cod have been known to grow to 200 lbs.If you are going past Wagga call in and look at old Murray the cod 144lbs last time I was there.Imagine a pack of 20 to 30 of these mothers,forget the American Cat fish stories ...on the other hand we know there is nothing dangerous in Southern Australian rivers dont we???Keep those feet up whilst swimming and watch out for the Killer Cod;and keep an eye out for the Bunyip as well.
 
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Anonymous

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#98
The most well known UL round here is that if any resident of Chester finds a Welshman inside the walls of the city after sunset, he can legally shoot him - but only with a crossbow.

Apparently there was some truth in this at an appropriate point in history, but if it was still true you wouldn't be able to move in Chester on a Friday night for the whizzing of crossbow bolts.
 

oll_lewis

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#99
The captains wife

Where I come from in Lavernock, Glamorgan, south wales there was a leagend about a sea captain who took his wife on a voyage with him, she died and rather than chucking her over the side of the boat, as was the custum so as not to bring bad luck on the voyage, hid her body in a chest (tresure cheast or tea chest depending on which vertion of the story you are being told) after he got home he put the chest in the barn ready to bury that night (it would smell a bit by then ,see). however when he went to bury the body it had been nicked and he never tracked down who had taken it.
the site of the house and barn was said to be haunted since then by the wife's ghost looking for her body (why not the captains ghost?).
This u.l. was so famous localy a pub nearby (this is quite a rural spot so most coustomers are ramblers going to sully island) called it self the captains wife.
 

Melf

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fizz

re:- about welsh men being shot after dusk with a crossbow in chester i think that also applies in hereford

as i am a welshman remind me not to go to either place after dusk:eek!!!!:
 
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Anonymous

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We have the Electric brae in Ayrshire. Things appear to roll uphill. Including your car. If you try to walk downhill......it nackers you.

Thats real though rather than an urban myth.

But it is legendary......

Heres a good one though:

William Wallace stood on the Granny Stane in the middle of the River Irvine and fished. He caught a dozen fish when a band of English soldiers appeared. One approached on his horse and demanded the young Williams entire catch.

Wallace politely said that the fish were for his uncle in riccarton (and so they were) and that he should half them with the Englishman. The soldier got down from his horse and approached William with furious intent. Wallace side stepped and hit the soldier with his rod. the soldier fortunately fell and threw his sword. William scooped the sword up and sliced the soldier from collarbone to gut. The other soldiers raced over on their horses and each one fell at the hands of Wallace.

He took 12 fish to his uncle.
 
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Anonymous

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Also......like many towns, my town of Irvine has a tunnel story!

Its a special one though.........it involves Kings and Templars.....and Templar Kings and kings who employed Kings......

......and therefore Grand Masters!:)

The tunnels route is hotly debated but it possibly stretches from Eglinton or Stane Castle (stane is part of Eggy) and takes a direct route to the Castle of Dundonald. Dundonald is the castle in which the Royal house of Stewart was born.

This has always been upheld as a myth in Irvine......due to the proliferation of tunnel stories in most ancient towns.

I myself have been guilty of thinking it is a myth.

However, the older I get and the more experienced I become in surveying my land and the corresponding maps and charts, the more I realise that our country is covered with all great variety of tunnels and passageways.

In my area, there were mesolithic people settling along the river routes. These people left amazing relics for us to find on a daily basis. They have created underground chambers (thought by all to be burial mounds) and passageways. The exact area that these exist has a name that cries of underground cavities.

Hole house, Holes, Hole Bogs, etc, etc.

There are also many mines to be found in Ayrshire and although most are well marked, the position of those older ones is a bit hazy.

Finally, when studying some maps from 1860, I noticed that the area of Stanecastle had a small inclusion that was not to be found on any other map before or after.

Beside Stanecastle, is the words "Subterranean Passageway".

As I say, the country is covered with tunnel stories. It could soooo easily be mundane.

Oh..........there was also a Medieval nunnery on the spot of Stanecastle. It occured to me that they may have been connnected, via a tunnel, to the carmelite Monastery.

Dirty feckers!!:)
 

Loopee

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fisher's ghost - bad picture terrifies local infant

Iggy011 said:
Probably the most famous story in my area is that of Fishers Ghost.

Fred Fisher left home on June 17,1826 and was never seen again-alive that is.His spectoral visage was seen sitting on a bridge poinying to a paddock where his body was later found.Many many people have seen poor old Fred sitting on the bridge.The creek flowing beneath it is now called Fishers Creek,and the paddock is now Fishers reserve.There is even an annual festival held in Freds Honour.
My God!!!! years ago we had a really cheap book of ghost stories which featured the tale of "Fisher's Ghost" (With illustrations) My wee brother was terrified of the one showing Fisher on the fence. It got to the stage where all you had to say was "Fisher's Ghost!" and he'd run off screaming.
Ahhh...happy days.
 
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Anonymous

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Here's one from around my way...

Chapel Hill, North Carolina is an old city and one steeped in tradition, as any student at the University of North Carolina can tell you. There is one tradition of the college that involves a ghost. It also involves, passion, courage, love and horrible death.... which means it has all the classics of a wonderful legend. But it is a legend based in fact.... and as we all know, truth is much stranger than fiction ever dreams of being.

Near a place called the Gimghoul Castle, on Piney Prospect, is a local landmark called Dromgoole Rock. According to the stories, this rock covers the grave of one Peter Dromgoole, a tragic figure in Chapel Hill history. The rock is stained with red, and the stories will tell you this red is the symbolic blood of the man buried beneath it.

But who was Peter Dromgoole.. and how did he meet his untimely end?
He was the son of a prominent Virginia family who entered the university in 1831. He was a reckless and care-free young man who was fond of fast horses, cards, heavy drinking and loose women... until the day that he fell madly in love. Peter’s lover was a young woman named Fanny, who was unlike any other young woman that he had previously pursued. Their usual trysting place was on top of Piney Prospect, where there still exists a small spring called Miss Fanny’s Spring.

Unfortunately for Peter, there existed another young man with dreams of courting Fanny. In fact, he had been rejected by her in favor of Peter and this young man, was insanely jealous. The man challenged Peter to a duel and the two of them met one night on Piney Prospect. The pistols fired and Peter was killed.

The other students were suddenly stunned over what had happened and the young men gathered for the duel quickly dug a shallow grave and placed Peter in it. They covered the evidence of his death with a large stone and hurried away, determined to keep the duel a secret.
The next day, Fanny came to the spring, but Peter never appeared. In the days that followed, she came back repeatedly but she never saw him again. Finally, she started to make inquiries about him, but could only learn that he had left campus. From that day on, she returned every day to Piney Prospect and waited for her lover, sitting and weeping on the very rock under which he was buried. Eventually, she grew sick and died, of course, from her broken heart.

As the years have passed, many believe that the rock, and even the castle beyond it, are haunted... perhaps by the ghost of Fanny or by Peter Dromgoole himself.

Regardless, the story of Peter Dromgoole remains a ghostly part of the University’s legacy and a riddle that will probably never be solved.
 

fluffle9

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the university of birmingham has an urban legend that chris tarrant (presenter of who wants to be a millionaire) lived in one of the halls of residence, and during his stay killed one of the geese off the lake - a transgression punishable, allegedly, by expulsion, as the geese are property of the university as soon as they land on the lake. i have no idea if any of it is true.
 

Malfinka1

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I lived in several small suburban communities in New England as a child. Each seemed to have it's own UL. One I remember were "the motorcycle people." Out in the woods where we played there were lots of dirkbike trails and a lot of people rode dirkbikes out there. All the neighborhood children knew that if the "motorcycle people" saw us, they would chase us down and run us over. If we children out playing in the woods and older kids came nearby on their dirtbikes, we ran like the devil was chasing us.

Another UL I encountered in more than one town were "the Emmens." (that was one name for them in one town--can't remember the others.) Supposedly, the Emmens were an incestuous family that was so interbred that they were all deformed/retarded. If we thought someone was acting stupid, we would insult them by saying "you're such an Emmen" or such. Seems to me there was always a mythical family like this in every small, rural town I lived in--sort of a cautionary tale--though I never actually saw any terribly deformed freaks walking around........
 

hecate10

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This was told to me by a friend in the music business, who toured with many big name bands through the eighties and ninties. On a long tour of Australia. the band and crew were travelling a huge distance across country to wherever the next gig was. They'd been travelling for hours and were all hot, tired and not paying a lot of attention to the road ahead.

Suddenly there was a loud bang and the bus careered to a standstill beside the dusty road. They all climbed out in shock, to find that the bus had hit a kangaroo, which was lying dead in the road.

They all decided it would be funny to dress the kangaroo up in one of the logo'd tour jackets and baseball hats, and stand it up, surrounded by the whole group, for a photograph. This they did, among much laughter, but they were then amazed to see the kangaroo suddenly jerk into life and go speeding off across the desert - still wearing the hat and jacket... it had apparently only been stunned.

It now seems that this story has become an Urban Legend in Australia, and this amazing kangaroo is spotted all over that continent, by otherwise perfectly sane people who swear they have seen it ....

When I was a child in Lancashire, we were told about 'The Bannister Doll' who was a local girl of 'ill repute' who had been found murdered at a local beauty spot, years before, her body hung up from a tree in chains. It was said that if you heard the chains rattling of a dark night, your days were numbered ......
 
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Anonymous

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In Northeastern Illinois, where I grew up, there was an area called Bull Valley. It was sparsely populated, but there were a few distinctive buildings there, so naturally legends were created around them. They have holes in the 'logic' a mile wide, and sound familiar to anyone who's read Snopes.com.
The most famous was the House with No Corners, where all the right angles were rounded off. The legend was that it was haunted by a ghost that would trap people in corners and strangle them, so the owner had the corners rounded. Not far off, actually the family that lived there were spiritualists and believed the right angle corners impeded the flow of energy throughout the house.
Then there was the historic little red school house where supposedly back when the area was being settled, one day the children didn't come home from school. The families waited and waited and finally some of the fathers and the sheriff got on their horses and road out to the school house, where the teacher and all the children were found seated in their desks, arms folded on the desk top, head resting on their arms. Each and every one, scared to death and no one ever found out by what.
Unless it was the Bull Valley monster. Tall, lumbering, hairy, and drawn to cars parked on the side of the lonely roads that ran through Bull Valley. If your doors weren't locked he'd pull you out and pick your arms off like the wings off a fly.
Then there's the House of Pillars, which has a porch that goes all the way around the structure, supported by "Tara-like" white columns. The legend is that whenever the owner of the house becomes displeased with the job that his housekeeper is doing, she disappears, he hires another, and a new column is added to the porch, in which he's hidden the body.
The great thing is the buildings all exist, and when I was in high school the cool thing was to pile into a car and go tour Bull Valley, (the local people loved us to no end :grrr: I'm sure). It was exceptionally fun to take a newbie who'd never been there before and tell them the stories. :twisted:
The area has built up a lot in the passing years and the cops started patrolling heavily due to idiotic vandalism that occurred on occasion. But several of the structures are still there. And they never caught the monster, evidently he moved on to a more rural area. ;)
 

johnnyboy1968

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I grew up in Hornsea, on the East Yorkshire coast, and there was a tale there about the parish church which was regularly told as fact. The crypt was alleged to have a tunnel in it, which was used in the past by smugglers, and either connected to the sea (unlikely, as it's a mile and a half away) or, more plausibly, to the Old Hall, a 16th century manor house next to the church. I've been in the crypt a couple of times, and there are certainly a few blocked-up doors and openings which don't seem to lead anywhere.

The story goes that, sometime in the late 18th century, the parish clerk was in the crypt stashing smuggled goods when a great storm arose, which took the church roof off. He was convinced that it was the Devil come to get him, and had a stroke on the spot, remaining paralysed for the rest of his life. There are two old trees in the nearby park which have strange horizontal banding around their trunks, supposedly scarring caused by the lead from the roof wrapping around it. The storm itself is documented, but I've never seen any evidence for the rest of the story, though the church itself had certainly suffered a lot of damage by the mid 19th century, and was practically a ruin before George Gilbert Scott got his hands on it.

Some of the damage, as in many a town, was blamed on Oliver Cromwell and his soldiers, who reputedly stabled their horses in the church during the Civil War. So many other places have Ollie doing something similar, so I'd take it with a huge pinch of salt, but an old archway in the town was known as "Cromwell's Arch" until it was demolished in the early 1900s to make way for housing.

The East Yorkshire coast is very prone to erosion, and, on dark and stormy nights, the church bells of the lost village of Hornsea Beck were said to be heard tolling, to warn ships of danger. There was also a tale that an incongrously sited medieval cross base and shaft on the outskirts of town was the reset village cross of Hornsea Beck, but current thinking has it down as a wayside preaching cross.

A couple of more recent stories from my own experience now. In the early 80s, there was a rumour that the park was haunted, which spread like wildfire through school, as these things do. Strangely enough, nobody could say exactly what sort of haunting it was, other than it was a "ghost", and was centred on an ancient moat at one end of it. It got to the stage where, during assembly, the Deputy Head of the school had to debunk the whole thing, and try to assure us that there was nothing nasty lurking in the park. The police did pick up a teenager there one night, dressed in a white sheet, but he was just reacting to the stories, rather than instigating them, and was well known to be a nutter. Eventually, the rumours just died down.

Another one which seemed to crop up regularly was during the opening night of the town carnival. This revolved around a great big bonfire and fireworks on the beach, and was mainly used as an excuse by the town's teenagers (me included) to indulge in humiliating public drunkenness. Anyhow, every bloody year, the whispers would start going round that a busload of yobboes from Hull had arrived, and were making their way beachwards to cause mayhem; "They've done the Market Place over and they're coming up Eastgate - they'll be here in ten minutes..." This invariably led to the local Doc Martin and Wrangler jacket wearing hard cases girding their loins in anticipation of battle, but, wouldn't you know it, the army from Hull never seemed to arrive. The really odd thing is that the same people kept believing it... maybe they were so drunk on the night that they couldn't remember that they'd been fed exactly the same tale year after year...
 

rynner2

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Midnight wrote:
The most famous was the House with No Corners, where all the right angles were rounded off. The legend was that it was haunted by a ghost that would trap people in corners and strangle them, so the owner had the corners rounded.
Here too!
...the village of Veryan [Cornwall], home of the famous Round Houses (so the devil can't hide in the comers).
Pic here:
http://www.walkingcornwall.co.uk/newsletter2001.htm
(and plenty of other references on the web.)
 
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Anonymous

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Near Hamilton, Ontario, there is a half-ruined building called The Hermitage. In the mid 1800's, it was a popular hotel due to its scenic location in the Dundas Valley along the Niagara Escarpment. In the early 1900's, it became a private residence of a reclusive woman. In the 1930's, it caught fire and was partially burned down. The woman loved it so much that she refused to move out even though only about 1/2 the building was left standing. She ended up dying there, and her ghost is reputed to haunt the place, along with the spirit of a coachman who hanged himself in the 1800's because he fell in love with the daughter of the property owner, who would never sanction his daughter marying a common coachman.

When I was a teenager, it was widely rumoured that a satanic cult practised their rituals there, especially around Halloween. This UL persists today, since my 16 yr. old daughter has reported the same UL being told at her high school...for the record, no cult members have ever been apprehended, nor has there been any ritualistic implements found there...
 

Grumoftheshire

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When I used to live in Bardsley in Oldham (North West UK) there used to some kind of big drain thing. (no idea what its use was)
Anyway, bloody big drain that you could stand up in where a girl named Sally went missing.
Allegedly, if you went down the hole you would get chased out by her ghost. When I eventually plucked up the courage to try it a couple of friends and myself went only to find the hole had been barred up.

The thing that didn't seem funny at the time but does now was the name given to this place, "Sallys hole"

I can confidently say that I never got to go in Sallys hole
 

beakboo1

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We have a very silly urban legend in our office. Someone must have started a rumour years ago about one of the senior staff, who looks vaguely Polynesian, that he was one of the rowers in the opening credits of Hawaii 5.0. It's truly amazing how many people mention this to him even now, thinking it might be true.
 

tamyu

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This is probably the silliest local legend...
I wouldn`t call it an urban legend - it falls more under the folklore heading.

Apparently, hundreds of years ago there was a small god who came along and taught the local people how to pickle food better than they had ever been able to before. The food that the god "blessed" with his pickling power was tastier and was edible for a much longer amount of time than normally pickled things.
One day, he disappeared into a large barrel of pickled radish, promising to help the locals with their pickling for all eternity.

It sounds like a silly parody, but...
There is the shrine of "pickling and relationships" very near to my home. The large pickling barrel is preserved there.
People still come from all over the country to pay homage to the pickling god, and leave monetary offerings for him. Everyone agrees that things pickled after a visit are better. They even hold festivals in his honor.
 
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Anonymous

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Another 'died of shame' - and headless corpse...

There's a statue of George III on horseback at the end of the Long Ride in Windsor (Berks, UK), know locally as "the Copper Horse". Allegedly the sculptor hanged himself from a nearby tree after realising he had ommitted something from the harness (a website I've found says "stirrups", I thought it was girth, but whatever...). The figure of George III is supposedly pointing at the tree from which the man hanged himself - which clearly makes no chronological sense whatsoever.

I'm sure I've heard a similar story about an equestrian statue in Durham.

Headless corpse - My grandmother (really, not even her friend) told me about travelling on holiday somewhere on the North Wales coast, where someone had been murdered, and decapitated and their body concealed in a well. My grandmother was horrified by the story, and accepted it unquestioningly as a modern occurence. Some years later, I learnt the legend of St Winefride, who was decapitated in 660AD at a place now called Holywell in Flintshire! This was obviously the story which my grandmother had misheard/misunderstood. Makes a 1400 year old story suddenly very immediate!
 

Dingo667

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Re: Same as the Robert Peel statue......

lily lodestone said:
In Durham city market place there's a statue of a bloke on a horse (Lord Vane Tempest I think) and the legend is that after it was finished the sculptor killed himself because the horse doesn't have a tongue.

If you climb up and look in its mouth I'm sure it does, which makes the UL even more ridiculous, but I've had the story repeated to me countless times anyway.

:confused:

Lily
That is strange as the same UL is told about the bronze statue of the famous Horse of Lower-Saxony in Hanover (Germany), which can be found in front of the University. The thing is I always believed it was true as the horse really hasn't got a tounge. Hearing the same story told in England, is the last prove that it really is just an UL. Maybe all horse statues from those days lack a tounge? Interesting.
 

fluffle9

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Re: Another 'died of shame' - and headless corpse...

Fen Tiger said:
There's a statue of George III on horseback at the end of the Long Ride in Windsor (Berks, UK), know locally as "the Copper Horse". Allegedly the sculptor hanged himself from a nearby tree after realising he had ommitted something from the harness (a website I've found says "stirrups", I thought it was girth, but whatever...). The figure of George III is supposedly pointing at the tree from which the man hanged himself - which clearly makes no chronological sense whatsoever.
i've heard a similar story about a statue of a lion in Reading. allegedly the sculptor gave its front legs knees and killed himself when he realised his anatomical mistake. from the photo i saw i couldn't see anything wrong with it.
 

OldTimeRadio

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Local Phrases

My twin hometowns (they share a common border) in Northern Kentucky have local phrases which probably don't mean much if anything to people outside the immediate area.

For example, Bellevue, Kentucky, population around 7,500, has for a century enjoyed a high school football rivalry with neighboring Dayton, Kentucky (another common border situation).

Because of this I grew up with a Bellevue-only phrase commonly heard in everyday speech - "to beat Dayton," used in the sense of excessive speed or at least rapidity. "Officer, he drove by my house to beat Dayton." "He's the best yard worker I've ever had - he cuts grass to beat Dayton."

As a very young child I originally assumed that this was a universal phrase and was amazed when people from five miles away couldn't relate to it.

Belleve is a very pleasant working class community, while my other home town, Fort Thomas, is quite upscale and indeed wealthy. The public high school there is considered one of the top five in the United States and it successful competes with private prep schools. Although radically smaller than many, it has won 16 state football championships in the past 90 years. (Homer Rice, afterwards one of the really storybook university football coaches, was my phys ed teacher.)

The inhabitants of the surrounding area (including Bellevue) call Fort Thomasians "cake-eaters."

And when I was in high school there we tended to lump the world into two groups: "Americans" (Fort Thomasians) and "Greeks" (everybody else."

Before the PC police arrive to re-educate me, let me explain that not only was this all good-natured (in both directions) but several of the leading "Americans" were of Greek extraction.
 

rynner2

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HEAVY LEGS

One from France...?

A curiously French complaint
BY Emma Jane Kirby
BBC News, Paris

....

I am not suggesting that the French are a nation of hypochondriacs but they do take their health very seriously.

France is the biggest consumer of antibiotics in Europe. The government has recently tried to wean the country off its dependency with a series of TV advertisements which reassure the ailing that they do not always need drugs.

A Parisian GP I know, Dr Auber, believes that France enjoys a reputation for having such a great health service simply because its doctors routinely prescribe more medicines.

Now he says they are "Anglicising" the system, turning away from the indulgent "There, there" approach and moving towards a much more "Get along with you now" stiff upper lip attitude.

Dr Auber claims that many of his patients are deeply disappointed if they do not get a prescription after a visit to his practice and he is quite sure that many go off mumbling that he has not bothered to treat them.

With the current cold snap here, everyone is feeling pretty grotty and congested.

Even the sky looks bunged up and it is continually snivelling and spluttering sleet onto the Parisians who in turn are sneezing and rasping into handkerchiefs.

On the Metro, disease hangs thickly in the warm air, and people eye one another warily, sizing up which passenger is likely to be carrying the plague, before choosing their seat and tightening the protective scarves around their throats.

At least they have their medicines to console them.

Dr Auber told me that a French colleague of his, who recently moved to join a surgery in London, was staggered to see her British colleagues telling patients complaining of blocked ears, to just go home and pour olive oil into them.

In France she said, her patients would have demanded a medical prescription to shift the unwanted wax and she would have felt obliged to write one out.

But while stuffed-up orifices may be a common symptom on both sides of the Channel, there is one disease that only the Gallic appear susceptible to, and in fact, according to Dr Auber, it is one of the illnesses French people complain about most.

Correct me if I am wrong, but have you ever heard a British person complain they are suffering from "heavy legs"? :shock:

Fascinated by a malady to which British people appear immune, I went to my local pharmacy and asked the smiling young chemist if she could advise me on remedies for heavy legs.

"Oh, bad luck," she said indicating two entire shelves of pills and potions. "Do you get heavy legs in the winter too? I only suffer from them in the summer," and she handed me a cream with "real grape seeds", assuring me it was very effective when rubbed vigorously twice daily from the ankle to the knee.

I have often wondered if one can get signed off work with heavy legs. I am almost tempted to call my editor to try out the scenario.

"Oh yeah hi, it's Emma Jane. Look I'm really sorry but I'm not going to make it in today - I'm afraid I've got heavy legs again."

Unfortunately, my boss is a regular listener to this programme, so by now he will be aware of my British immunity to the illness and would presumably tell me to hop it.

Dr Auber confirms that British people simply do not suffer from this mysterious weightiness of the lower limbs, and adds that the French consume more than a third of the entire world's supply of heavy legs medicines.

Curiously though, he has noticed that since the French health insurance companies stopped paying for heavy legs remedies a couple of years ago, consumption of these products is now 10 times less than it used to be. 8)

A couple of years back, while skiing in the Alps after a tiring stint in Afghanistan, I noticed my legs were covered in small red spots and I was feeling lethargic. Could I finally have contracted the elusive heavy legs syndrome?

"No!" said the alarmed French doctor, "you have a tropical illness and you need to go straight to hospital."

Laughing to myself at the typical Gallic solicitousness, I popped a Paracetamol and headed straight back to the slopes.

Two days later, delirious with fever and covered in enormous black lumps, I was lying in the isolation unit of a London hospital, howling in pain and terrified what my test results would reveal.

Alerted by my cries, a masked nurse popped her head around the door.

"Oh for goodness sake," she said brusquely. "Anyone would think you were dying. You've only got suspected leprosy." :shock:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/f ... 779126.stm
 

JamesWhitehead

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That's a great punchline! I hope the diagnosis was wrong.

I suspect the symptom of heavy-legs is just as common over here but lacking a recognized name we would generalize it as muscular or joint pain. If only it was just the legs!

Had it all this week. :(
 
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