An Urban Legend (都市伝説) is a form of modern folklore, often spread through word-of-mouth and contemporary means, such as the Internet. Not strictly originating in urban areas, the term is meant to differentiate between contemporary, memetic tales and traditional folklore and fiction. They often take the form of horror stories and cautionary tales.
Urban Legends in Touhou
In Forbidden Scrollery 14-15, the kappa borrow the Seven Wonders of Honjo, a prototypical set of urban legends, and use the phenomenon of urban legends to spread rumors to disguise their activities at the Abandon Pond and Human Village.
In Wild and Horned Hermit chapter 26, an Unnamed Jinmenken makes its first appearance. In the same chapter, Marisa Kirisame seems to think she's seen an old woman selling dismembered legs. As Mamizou Futatsuiwa explains, these are urban legends from the Outside World, the first to actually be called such. However, because they are spread among gossiping children, it is said their existence is weak and their relatively harmless nature is different than that of a youkai. Its countermeasure is as simple as altering the rumor behind the urban legend. Meanwhile, Kokkuri-san, a game designed to call on minor spirits to answer questions, takes hold of the children in the Human Village in Forbidden Scrollery 26-27. This prompts Kosuzu Motoori and Marisa Kirisame to play Ouija, a western game similar to Kokkuri-san. After word is intentionally spread that the game is ineffective, its popularity dies down.
In Urban Legend in Limbo it is shown that the Occult Balls somehow have to do with the spread of urban legends, including those in the Wild and Horned Hermit appearance. Characters in the game then appropriate urban legends to use as their own. Although, in some cases, it is not urban legends in the strictest sense used by the characters. For example, Mononobe no Futo utilizes an old tragedy, Bancho Sarayashiki and its main character, Okiku-san, instead. Also, Kasen Ibaraki's urban legend, the Monkey's Paw, actually originated in The Monkey's Paw, an early-20th century short horror story.
Other urban legends in Urban Legend in Limbo include the Gap Woman (隙間女 sukima-onna) (Reimu Hakurei), the Seven School Mysteries (Kirisame Marisa), Hasshaku-sama (Ichirin Kumoi), Aka Manto (赤マント) (Toyosatomimi no Miko), Turbo Granny (ターボばあちゃん Turbo Baachan) (Byakuren Hijiri), Kuchisake-onna (口裂け女) (Hata no Kokoro), Merry-san (メリーさん) (Koishi Komeiji), Nessie (Nitori Kawashiro), Men in Black (Mamizou Futatsuiwa), spontaneous human combustion (Fujiwara no Mokou), and Little Green Men (Sukuna Shinmyoumaru).
- Gap Woman (隙間女 sukima-onna) - Reimu Hakurei
- the Seven School Mysteries - Marisa Kirisame
- Hasshaku-sama - Ichirin Kumoi
- Turbo Granny (ターボばあちゃん Turbo Baachan) - Byakuren Hijiri
- Bancho Sarayashiki Okiku-san - Mononobe no Futo
- Aka Manto (赤マント) - Toyosatomimi no Miko
- Nessie (The Loch Ness Monster) - Nitori Kawashiro
- Merry-san (メリーさん) - Koishi Komeiji
- Men in Black - Mamizou Futatsuiwa
- Kuchisake-onna (口裂け女) - Hata no Kokoro
- Spontaneous human combustion - Fujiwara no Mokou
- Little Green Men - Sukuna Shinmyoumaru
- The Monkey's Paw - Kasen Ibaraki
- Occult Balls/Doppleganger - Sumireko Usami
- Kunekune - Reisen Udongein Inaba
- HAARP conspiracy theories - Tenshi Hinanawi
- Teke Teke - Yukari Yakumo