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Sewer Alligators: Fact Or Fiction Essay

1053 words - 5 pages

Sewer Alligators: Fact or Fiction?

Ever imagine what it would feel if one of our darkest fears comes true. There are stories that are told around the world to scare us. It is up to each and every person who will hear it, if they would believe it or not. A story that is told throughout the years with different variations depending on the teller is classified as an urban legend. Different variations can be caused by tellers changed the plot of the legend to a local setting, the teller may say the legend wrong because they forgot the story, or the teller may change something like the model of a car. With so many variations, it’s very hard to tell if any of it is true and where the story ...view middle of the document...

The report suggested that the alligator had escaped from a ship traveling from the Everglades and had then swam into the Harlem River and then 150 yards up a storm conduit to where it was found.

It was once a fad among New Yorkers vacationing in Florida to bring back baby alligators for their children to raise as pets. These infant gators eventually grew up and outlived their cuteness, sad to say, at which point their desperate owners flushed them down the toilet to get rid of them. Some of these hastily disposed-of creatures managed to survive and breed in the sewer system, so the story goes, producing colonies of giant alligators beneath the streets of New York City. Their descendants thrive down there to this day, completely hidden from human eyes.

The alligator in the sewer myth has been circulating for a long time now. Many radical stories have been told. Some people say that sewer-gators are white because there is no sunlight under the sewer system. With red eyes and apparently they would grow gigantically, because there are tons of rats to eat. Some sewer workers also tell stories just to pass time and scare kids. They would tell people that they would organize a hunt, but none of these hunts were ever reported.

The earliest published reference to alligators in the sewer in what Jan Harold Brunvand refers to as the "standardized" form of the urban legend ("baby alligator pets, flushed, thrived in sewers") can be found in the 1959 book, The World Beneath the City, a history of public utilities in New York City written by Robert Daley. Daley's source was a retired sewer official named Teddy May, who claimed that during his tenure in the 1930s he personally investigated workers' reports of subterranean reptiles and saw a colony of them with his own eyes. He also claimed to have supervised their eradication. May was a colorful storyteller, if not a particularly reliable one.

It is impossible for alligators to live under sewer conditions for a long time. People believed that the sewers would be a good place for...

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