Informant: The myth of The Fountain of Youth is something I have been hearing every since I moved to Miami.
Collector: When, and where, were you first introduced to this myth?
Informant: I don’t remember the time exactly but it was definitely something I was introduced to once I moved to Miami. A lot of people believed that The Fountain of Youth was located in Florida and, therefore, it was not uncommon to hear about this myth.
Collector: What were ways in which this myth got promulgated?
Informant: Well there were many references to The Fountain of Youth in movies and other forms of entertainment…umm…there was this one museum in Florida I remember going to that had a whole exhibition built around it. It was called the Vizcaya Museum and I remember them having a presentation on what The Fountain of Youth was and how it came to be located in Florida.
Collector: So the idea of The Fountain of Youth was used as a form of tourism as well?
Informant: Yes, exactly! There were many attractions and things related to The Fountain of Youth that were used to call attention to Florida.
Collector: Could you give a little bit of background on what The Fountain of Youth is?
Informant: Yes, of course. It is basically this spring that restores your youth if you drink its water. So it’s a source of youth, beauty, and health. Basically a form of obtaining immortality. But you have to find the fountain and drink its water, which is the tricky part. So almost all of the stories about The Fountain of Youth revolve around people trying to find it.
The Fountain of Youth has been a myth that I’ve also heard about repeatedly. However, I used to hear about this in movies like Indiana Jones and other forms of entertainment rather than from the place I was living in. I found it very interesting how this myth was used in Florida as a way to attract tourists. In some ways, this demonstrates the relationship between folklore and tourism. Sometimes folklore is used to promote tourism and The Fountain of Youth is one of many examples. I think a big part of the appeal of this myth is that it is a recipe for old age and a way to prevent death. In Western societies, old age and death are one of the greatest fears people have. Hence, I can understand how the search for The Fountain of Youth is a myth that continues to live on and that is used to capture people’s attention and imagination. It is a myth that brings a solution to an inevitable part of life, and the appeal of that cannot be underestimated. I think it is because of such a promise that this myth has managed to live on for so long. Moreover, I can see how this can be used as a form of tourism. The main premise of the myth – immortality – is extremely appealing and people can’t help but wonder if The Fountain of Youth actually exists.