Legend tripping is a name recently bestowed by folklorists and anthropologists on an adolescent practice (containing elements of a rite of passage) in which a usually furtive nocturnal pilgrimage is made to a site which is alleged to have been the scene of some tragic, horrific, and possibly supernatural event or haunting. Legend tripping is a name recently bestowed by folklorists and anthropologists on an adolescent practice (containing elements of a rite of passage) in which a usually furtive nocturnal pilgrimage is made to a site which is alleged to have been the scene of some tragic, . Legend tripping explained. Legend tripping is a name bestowed by folklorists and anthropologists on an adolescent practice (containing elements of a rite of passage) in which a usually furtive nocturnal pilgrimage is made to a site which is alleged to have been the scene of some tragic, horrific, and possibly supernatural event or haunting. "Legend tripping the ultimate family experience essay Feb · Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Family Experience book for sale. Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Adventure.". "Legend tripping the ultimate family experience essay Feb · Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Family Experience book for sale. Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Adventure." "His daring raids in World War I made him a legend. But in the Middle East today, the desert warrior’s legacy is written in sand".
Origins[ edit ] The concept of legend tripping is at least as old as Mark Twain 's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which contains several accounts of adolescents visiting allegedly haunted houses and caves said to be the lairs of criminals. Tom Sawyer is based on lore that was current in Twain's own boyhood, and by Twain's time the main features of the ritual were already in place.
Much older versions of the custom may be glimpsed in traditional ballad tales such as the ballad of Tam Lin. In this ballad, a young woman is warned that the elf Tam Lin is known to haunt a place called Carterhaugh, and that all who go there must lose either an article of clothing or their virginity to Tam Lin. Janet, the heroine, defies the warning: She learns that Tam Lin was once human, and that to free him, she must make a second trip on Halloween night to a crossroads, where she has an encounter with the Queen of Elphame, and succeeds in reclaiming Tam Lin from fairyland.
In both the old ballad and in Mark Twain's version, there is a specific location that is supposed to be accursed , ghost -haunted, or otherwise dangerous. There is a folk story, of the type that is now called an urban legend , that explains why the place is haunted, accursed, or dangerous. The story is retold in preparation for the legend trip. In outward form, the legend is a cautionary tale warning of a danger; in practice, however, the cautionary tale is turned into a dare, inviting the trippers to go test its veracity.
There is often a ritual that must be performed at the site; the ritual is explained in the legend. The ritual invokes whatever dangerous spirits haunt that place. The custom may be based on folk practices from Great Britain involving holy wells and similar shrines; on certain days of the year, young people would visit them, and these visits attracted attention on account of drinking and sexual activity at the site.
In more recent times, legends have been reported in Britain concerning sites where the Devil , or an evil ghost, could be summoned by visiting a grave or a megalith and performing a ritual, like running around it.
In some of the British legends this must be done on a certain day or date, a condition seldom found in the United States. In Britain, too, certain headstones are said to be cursed: The paradoxical effect of these warnings has been to encourage, rather than discourage, visitors. What distinguishes legend tripping from other sorts of tourism is the notion of a dangerous experiment.
The legends of legend trips typically warn of dangers. The legend trippers violate the tabooed site for the specific purpose of flirting with that danger.
The legend trip is a specific ritual, and as such takes place in ritual time and ritual space. This creates a sort of mentally separate sphere in which the legend trip occurs, and allows the legend trippers to flirt with the dangers while minimizing their psychic effects in ordinary i. Legend tripping used to be a largely local activity.
Each community where the custom had taken root had a single or perhaps a handful of sites that were locally notorious.
Legend tripping explained
Starting in the late s, media have brought the practice additional publicity. Television shows such as In Search Of These, in turn, led to the formation of "ghost hunter" clubs in many communities, which promote legend based tourism. Active communities interested in legend tripping have emerged on the Internet. The Internet has allowed legend trip sites to be shared and acquire fame well-past the localities where the legends first circulated. Abandoned buildings, remote bridges, tunnels, caves, rural roads, specific woods or other uninhabited or semi-uninhabited areas, and most importantly, cemeteries are frequent sites of legend-tripping pilgrimages.
The Baird Chair monument in Kirksville, Missouri is a gravestone associated with legend trips. The gravesite of Bloody Mary is said to exist in several locations in the United States, with a location identified in many of the places that story takes hold.
Often there is a tale of a heinous crime that was committed at the site, and whose details are retold and multiplied in the legend that explains why the pilgrims are headed there.
Websites and newsletters, like the various weird tour guides, that are published to exploit stranger aspects of a number of different cities, provide ample background stories and locations for legend tripping.
The inclusion of reader anecdotes serves to add greater weight to the location as a good legend trip. Legend-tripping sites typically stand in relatively isolated and rural areas that are nevertheless easily reached by automobile , outside of major population centres. For the legend to propagate, first, the adolescent pilgrims must be able to get there and, secondly, the odds must be good that they will be alone when they arrive.
Legend-tripping is a mostly harmless, perhaps even beneficial, youth recreation. It allows young people to demonstrate their courage in a place where the actual physical risk is likely slight. These panics often further embellish the prestige of the legend trip to the adolescent mind. In Louisville, Kentucky , a particular railroad trestle is imagined to be haunted by the Pope Lick Monster , half- human and half- goat. Several people have died from collisions with trains or falls from the trestle while visiting it on a dare.
Holly and Casey E. The Journal of American Folklore The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong's Hat. The Ultimate Family Experience