Too Good to Be True: The Colossal Book of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand - review by Michael Bywater

Michael Bywater

I Told You So…

Too Good to Be True: The Colossal Book of Urban Legends


W W Norton 539pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

I know a chap who knew a girl whose mother told her that one day a vicious ogre who, ever since drinking a bottle of Coke with a dead mouse in it, had been living in the sewers of New York as a crocodile and one day he slithered in through the bedroom window and ate the little girl’s head right off. Meanwhile, this escaped lunatic with a hook for a hand was lurking on the edge of town and one day this girl’s older sister was necking in the car and heard...

Anyway, you know the kind of thing. But I had no real idea how numerous, how universal and how interesting these anecdotes were. Nor did I realise how gullible I was until Too Good to be True revealed that not only did many of us believe the stories, but we also believed that they had happened to us.

Douglas Adams, for example, was quite certain that he had been, if not the man, then at least a man to whom the Biscuit Legend had happened. You’ll know the tale. Chap sits down in the station cafe with his cup of tea and packet of biscuits. Takes a biscuit.

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