Mudcat Café message #3660348 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #155557   Message #3660348
Posted By: MGM·Lion
15-Sep-14 - 07:31 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Is this an urban myth?
Subject: Folklore: Is this an urban myth?
We all know about Urban Myths, aka Whale-Tumour Stories, or FOAF Tales [from Friend of a Friend, the inevitable experiencer of whatever the happening the myth deals with; acronym coined by English folklorist Rodney Dale, along with Jan Brunvand the most prolific writer on the genre]. The Car Stolen with Granny in her Coffin on the Roof; the Vanishing Hitchhiker; the Policeman Who Forgot To Switch off his Car's PA (so that everyone heard what he said about the woman he was trying to help out of the jam) -- all those. [Google Wikipdedia Urban Myth.]

My mother's lifelong friend Peggy Rose was a great teller of these; a real pushover: she had a new one every time one visited: she even claimed to have heard the policeman in Hampstead High Street, even though the tale is actually well-known...

She had one particular favourite story of something she claimed happened to a friend of a friend of hers, which has to me all the hallmarks of an Urban Myth -- EXCEPT that I have never come across it anywhere else. Here is the story:

--- My friend's friend and her husband got to the bottom of the Piccadilly Line escalator at Leicester Square underground station (at the time, and even now for all I know, the longest escalator [moving staircase] in the world) at a busy time of day.

"Oh, bother," he said. "I meant to buy an evening paper at the bookstall in the booking hall. Wait here a minute or two"; -- and up he went on the up-side...

...and never came down again. She is still 'waiting a minute or two'. ---

{This provided my first wife Valerie & me with a family phrase BTW: "I thought you had Leicester-Squared me," we would complain if left to wait for any significant length of time.}

Now, as I say, I think this incident, which my [adoptive] Auntie Peggy would ofttimes tell, bears all the hall marks of a Foaf-Tale, Whale-Tumour Story, Urban Myth ... EXCEPT, as I say, I have never come across it, or a recognisable close variant, anywhere else.

Has anyone? Or might it, after all, really have happened to Auntie Peggy's Friend's Friend?

≈Michael≈