Cover image for Alligators in the sewer : and 222 other urban legends
Alligators in the sewer : and 222 other urban legends
Craughwell, Thomas J., 1956-
Publication Information:
New York : Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers : Distributed by Workman Pub. Co., [1999]

Physical Description:
280 pages ; 20 cm
Reading Level:
830 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 5.2 13 Quiz: 20845 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GR105 .C73 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Urban Legend (ur/ben lej/end) n. a fictional story, circulated by word-of-mouth, that is perpetuated by the continual assertion of truth.

All the rumors that have passed through office e-mail networks, the fantastic stories that have "happened to a friend" and the horrifying tales told around campfires are gathered here for the first time in one fascinating, unbelievable collection.

Organized by subject, chapters include: Naked at His Own Surprise Party and Other Sexual Escapades, The Stolen Kidney and Other Medical Disasters, The Gulf War Computer Virus and Other High Tech Scares, Roswells's Area 51 and Other Extraterrestrial Encounters, Elvis's Motorcycle and Other Celebrity Rumors, and many more. Each story runs one-to-two-pages long.

Many of the stories have been told with a different twist--variations are included at the end of each tale.

Author Notes

Thomas J. Craughwell is an author and problem solver. He traced the evolution of Manhattan urban legends ( Alligators in the Sewer ); sorted out fact from fiction in old wives tales ( Do Blue Bedsheets Bring Babies? ); identified the patron saints of bloggers, vegetarians and hangovers ( This Saint Will Change Your Life ); and resurrected a long-forgotten story from 1876, when a gang of hapless Irish immigrant counterfeiters tried to kidnap the body of Abraham Lincoln--and almost got away with it ( Stealing Lincoln's Body ). Tom lives in Bethel, Connecticut.



SHORT TAKES -Charlie Chaplin once anonymously entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest and lost. -At the end of his career George Reeves, who played Superman in the television series, believed he could fly. He died when he leapt from a tall building in a single bound. -The Gerber Baby is a portrait of the infant Humphrey Bogart, drawn by his mother. -Marilyn Monroe was the model for Tinker Bell in the Disney cartoon version of Peter Pan -When he died, Walt Disney was frozen in liquid nitrogen in the hope that at some future date, medical technology would be able to bring him back to life. -"Mama" Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas choked to death on a ham sandwich. -Fred Rogers of Mister Roger's Neighborhood was a sniper in Vietnam. -James Dean did not die in a car crash, but was horribly disfigured. He has lived as a recluse ever since. -John F. Kennedy did not die of his bullet wounds, but survives in a coma in a secret room of a Dallas nursing home. -After the show's final episode, the cast of Green Acres threw a farewell dinner in which the pig, Arnold Ziffel, was the main course. -John Wayne turned down the role of Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke. -Charles Manson auditioned for the Monkees. Excerpted from Alligators in the Sewer and 222 Other Urban Legends: Absolutely True Stories that Happened to a Friend... of a Friend... of a Friend by Thomas J. Craughwell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

The Cursed Mummy and Other Supernatural Encounters
The Scuba Diver in the Forest Fire and Other
Strange Deaths Naked at His Own Surprise Party and Other Sexual Escapades
The Stolen Kidney and Other Medical Mishaps
The Murderer in the Backseat and Other
Legends of the Road
Late for Finals and Other
Tales from College Aliens in Roswell, New Mexico and Other
Close Encounters
The Barrel of Bricks and Other
On-the-Job Foibles Elvis's Motorcycle and Other
Celebrity Rumors Alligators in the Sewers and Other
Classic Urban Legends