Have you ever played that game "telephone," where one person whispers something in another's ear, and by the time it makes its way around the circle, the story is usually way different? That's sort of how tall tales are created. While some may prove to be totally true, others are of course completely fabricated to tease your friends and have some fun. Either way, if you're ever in these locations below, you should at least consider investigating these strange legends!
Lake Michigan, Michigan
Once upon a time on a cold winter night up north, the temperature dropped to -68 degrees, leaving a group of lumberjacks in a particularly unpleasant logging camp. Nearby was Paul Bunyan, because he had just finished digging his blue ox's watering hole: Lake Michigan. The lanterns in the bunkhouse were frozen solid, and the flames inside them kept the men awake, not even Paul Bunyan could blow them out. So the lanterns were set that night far away from the camp in order for the cold lumberjacks to get some shut-eye. However, they were forgotten until spring came, when the lanterns thawed and caught the entirety of northern Michigan aflame! Paul Bunyan woke in a frenzy, dashing to the fire to stomp it out with his giant boots!
The Arkansas River, Colorado
This story begins with a traveling salesman afoot from Kentucky. Crossing the many streams between his home and Colorado was tricky business, but it didn't keep him from his goal: to cure the miners north of him of their unbecoming baldness. Much to his chagrin, the entrepreneur lost his balance in a rocky trout stream and dropped two of his four bottles of magic hair tonic, spilling the liquid into the water. Seizing an opportunity, the fisherman that lined the banks of the Arkansas River adapted a new method to lure the furry fish from the murky depths. Replacing their fishing poles, now the men carried red and white barber poles to cast, and advertised free shaves and haircuts for any of the fish that had grown beards, if only they would come out of the river. This made it all too easy to catch the embarrassed fish, until the water became so murky that they could no longer see the poles before them.
Albany, New York
A thriving bakery used to exist, supporting a satisfactory life for the baker and his family, until one night at closing time an old woman entered the bakery requesting a dozen Saint Nicholas cookies. The baker gingerly counted out 12 of his delicious cookies and handed them to her. "Only twelve?" she said. You see, there were other shops in town that gave away a free cookie with every baker's dozen, but this merchant was not one to give hand-outs. Refusing to give away the 13th cookie, the baker turned away the customer, and with her, his prosperity. Twice more the old woman returned to the shop with the same request, and twice more the baker's luck worsened until finally he had no customers left. Distraught, he prayed to Saint Nicholas for relief from the curse of the terrible customer. One last time, he baked the cookies the woman had sought, and this batch surprised him by turning out perfectly! All at once, Saint Nicholas himself appeared and said, "I spent my whole life giving to those in need, and we should be generous to those around us." Suddenly, the shop door swung open, and in walked the old woman, asking again for the 13 cookies. Happily, the baker gave her each one, all free of charge, agreeing that a dozen was in fact 13. From that moment, the spell was broken, and unwavering was his generosity.