Urban legends — stories about $250 cookie recipies from Neiman Marcus or hippie babysitters putting babies in the oven — are a sort of folklore. They get passed around via email, Ann Landers prints them now and again, they slowly change to fit current events, and they end up getting debunked on Snopes. I never thought that an entire urban oral tradition, an underground mythology about the battle raging between angels and the forces of Hell, might exist, but according to this fascinating 1997 article about "shelter folklore" among Miami’s homeless children, it does. The Devil and his agent, Bloody Mary or La Llorona, hunt the children: "’If you wake at night and see her,’ a ten-year-old says softly, ‘her clothes be blowing back, even in a room where there is no wind. And you know she’s marked you for killing.’" I guess that homeless children, more than most, need stories to help them make sense of the world, and without televisions, they’re going to have to create them themselves. Folklore motifs often appear in multiple stories both within a culture and crossculturally, and some of the elements in the shelter tales are familiar. Female ghosts associated with the deaths of children are a fairly common feature in mythology (1, 2, 3, 4), Bloody Mary is a ghost’s name in a fairly well-known urban legend that descends from older American folklore, and the article links the Blue Lady to a Santeria sea goddess (while studiously ignoring any Pinocchio references). Four years later, are these kids still alive? Are they still telling the same stories? Has anyone determined if there was a single starting point and group of storytellers, the E, J, P, and D of shelter myths? If there was, how did the tales they spread Miami, New Orleans, Chicago, and Oakland? And perhaps most importantly, do children in homeless shelters around the county still whisper to each other about the Devil and Bloody Mary, loose on earth and hungry for childen and the share the secret name of the Blue Lady that can stop them?