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My Urban Legend story.


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When my wife was working on her masters degree she took a class on folklore. It applied to her MBA on how stories and traditions grow even in a company. The professor was Jan H. Brunvand. Author of the Choking Doberman, The Vanishing Hitchhiker and a few other books on urban legends. He was talking about how urban legends usually spring up spontaneously in several places at once because the social setting was just right at the time but sometimes they have a single origin point and spread from there. He mentioned one about a medical school initiation that spread around the Western United States and a couple of large East Coast cities in the 80s and 90s but investigation always pointed back to the University of Utah and had a very specific start time. There was absolutely no mention of it anywhere before October of 1981. He never found anyone involved but the story spread from a Friend of a Friend Etc. After hearing some variations of the story my wife got us together to talk. Apparently a reference to the story made it into textbook.

The Legend

In order to get into medical school, or after getting in, or getting accepted to an advanced program in medical school like a pre surgical program the students had to steal a cadaver from the Gross Anatomy lab, drive with it for the night, have dinner with it in a cemetary and return it undetected. The story itself is absurd because of the tight security on the labs but the story persisted spreading to several cities with large medical schools. But the story always seemed to go back to the U of U.

People claimed it was true because they knew someone who witnesses the night the Med Students lost the body. There were a couple variations of the story. It fell out of the van, ambulance or hearse. Or they forgot where they left it in the cemetery. Or it was stolen by a rival class or confiscated by the police. No one ever saw this happen but they knew someone who knew someone who did.

The Truth.

My friends and I were all a bunch of Motor-heads. My family owned gas stations with service bays. Some were from a line of mechanics and welders. A couple had families into racing. We loved cars.

In 1980 a friend found a 1951 Cadillac Hearse abandoned in a field with a very old For Sale sign in it. We tracked down the owner and he was just happy to finally get rid of it. My friend put up most of the money. I put up the rest and all of us pitched in to get it running again. After finding a lot of parts and a lot of work we had everything except the rare "Long throw" starter used only on some 51s so for a few months until we found one we just push started it. We had a lot of fun and great adventures in that car. It seemed like the whole neighborhood piled in on Saturday nights to go cruising. 

One night after a Halloween party we decided to go mess with people making out and having sex in their cars. There was a popular spot in a small parking lot adjacent to the Salt Lake City Cemetery. This is above the cemetery on the foothills overlooking downtown Salt Lake. We slowly pulled in with the big V8 rumbling, parked and shut everything down and just sat there in silence. We watched people wipe fogged up windows to look at us. We didn't make a sound for about 30 minutes. A few of us finally got out, hopped a short wall and walked around the cemetery then got back in the car. People noticed. Then one guy who was dressed like a Hobbit complete with cloak, gets out of the suicide door and walks over to a car that had been rocking and knocks on the window.

A naked guy on top of a naked girl actually rolled the window down and just looked at my buddy. My buddy semi-loudly like in a loud whisper said, Excuse me, Sorry to bother you but have you seen a body? The girl was trying to cover her face and the guy said What? My buddy said A Body. I think we have lost a body. The guy could only say What?

Then my buddy turns and screams...GUYS! IT'S GONE! THE BODY IS GONE! Then the rest of us burst our from all five doors and went running and screaming down the cemetery as all the cars fired up and went flying through the Avenues District of the city. It is possible that some of the people there were Med Students from the U of U Med School.

Thats all that happened but the stories spread.

The most fun we had was when just a couple of us would out in the rain and look for hitchhikers. No one EVER got in.

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The OP is much better than mine.  That was a really good one.

Way back when I had a friend who liked to tell the story of another guy's bachelor's party.   I did not attend that party.

But after hearing the stories about the beer-a-mid and a few other mild things that happened.  Even the name of the brand. This story was repeated many times over the years. 

Finally, I slipped it into conversation that it was a fantastic party.   Eventually, over time, and subtle adjustments to the story....they are convinced that I was there.  They even found photos of that night...and are convinced I must have taken the photos since they can't remember who took all them...and I am not in the photos. 

The truth is:  I was never there.   But they think without a doubt I was.

Thus i planted an untruth...as truth.

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