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January 26 , 2009

The Chimaera Institute


Anecdotes, rumour, gossip...urban myths can straddle all those categories. Often they are short, like fables and can be told quickly in a paragraph or two. The tales in this book draw from various sources. The Book of Nasty Legends by Paul Smith (Fontana Paperbacks 1984: ISBN 0-00-636856-5) is one source. Another is the late Stanley Robertson, who liked to tell a version of ‘The Bridge’ in the form of a joke. (Of course it has much darker possibilities.) Ghost tales collected from the Aberdeen area mention a servant sacked for the loss of a fiver, wrongly accused of theft who subsequently committed suicide, and this is woven into ‘The Keeper of the Kennels’. I like to think of urban myths as little acorns desperate to grow into oaks, and love providing them with knots, gnarls and leaves.

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