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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Urban Legends
Twins get married… or maybe not
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 15, 2008
Last week this story was EVERYWHERE. A pair of twins in Britain, who had been adopted into different families, met and fell in love... without realizing they were twins. They then got married, only to discover the terrible secret they shared. Their marriage was promptly annulled. When I first read about this, it sounded pretty fishy to me -- very much like an urban legend being reported as news -- but on a cursory reading of the story I also got the impression that there were officials involved who knew about the case but couldn't disclose the identity of the twins. So I accepted the news as true. I think the paragraph in the BBC…
Husband meets wife in brothel
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 14, 2008
This story sounds suspiciously like an urban legend being reported as news. It could, of course, be true, though the source (a Polish tabloid called Super Express) makes it difficult to fact check: WARSAW (Reuters) - A Polish man got the shock of his life when he visited a brothel and spotted his wife among the establishment's employees. Polish tabloid Super Express said the woman had been making some extra money on the side while telling her husband she worked at a store in a nearby town. "I was dumfounded. I thought I was dreaming,"…
Phantom Tent City on Roof
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 03, 2008
According to a rumor that circulates among the population of South Carolina's Hilton Head Island, there's a group of Mexican immigrants living on top of one of the local supermarkets. It may be the Bi-Lo Supermarket, or the Port Royal Plaza, or the Harris Teeter. Supposedly this tent city of roof-living immigrants tapped into the store's electricity and even diverted the air conditioning system to cool their tents. The Island Packet News is pretty sure that the story of the rooftop tent city is just an urban legend: by all official accounts -- and satellite imagery available through…
Categories: Places, Urban Legends Comments (6)
Has Ho, Ho, Ho Been Banned?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 10, 2007
Last month a rumor began to circulate alleging that Santas were being banned from saying "Ho, Ho, Ho" because "Ho" is a slang term for a prostitute. As is often the case with such rumors, there was an event that triggered the rumor, but that event had been twisted and blown out of proportion in the course of being repeated. What really happened was that Westaff, a firm in Australia that trains Santas for appearances in shopping malls, had cautioned its trainees that many small children are initially scared by Santa. So they told the Santas-in-training "to try techniques such as lowering their tone of voice and using 'ha, ha, ha' to encourage the children to come…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (6)
Quick Links: Dec. 3, 2007
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 03, 2007
Pie in Santa's Face "A 22-year-old University of Montana student was charged with assault Friday for shoving a pumpkin pie into Santa Claus’ face at a shopping mall while a teen sat on his lap." Save the Park Four students in the UK created a hoax website as a social experiment to test the influence of the media. Their website, savethepark.co.uk, claimed there were plans to build a 220,000 tonne waste incineration plant in a South London park. Within a few weeks their site had received thousands of hits, and they had been contacted by a newspaper. They claim that their experiment, "showed how rumours can spread and how…
Searches for gold—Finds ammonia
Posted by The Curator on Sun Nov 18, 2007
Here's a case that could be described as what you get when you cross Mythbusters with the Darwin Awards. A 16-year-old boy living in the Tampa area heard a legend that a pipe that ran under the U.S. 301 bridge was filled with gold. Other people told him that it was actually an ammonia pipe leading to a fertilizer company. So the kid decided to test it out for himself and find out what the truth was: The anhydrous ammonia that flows through the pipeline from the port to fertlizer companies in Polk County is highly caustic. It…
The Dwarf in the Trunk
Posted by The Curator on Tue Oct 16, 2007
About four months ago (on June 3, 2007) this brief article appeared in the London Sunday Times: Police moved swiftly to foil a child kidnapping when a witness spotted a boy being locked in a car boot. Officers set up road blocks, flagged down a Mercedes that fitted the description, and opened the boot -where they found mechanic Klaus "Shorty" Mueller, 27, who had climbed in to find the source of a rattling noise. A spokesman for police in Bremen, north Germany, said: "It seems the driver had been worried by inexplicable rattling noises in or near his boot. He called a mechanic,…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (7)
Cursed Japanese Kleenex Commercial
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 01, 2007
A commercial for Kleenex that aired in Japan during the 1980s became the focus of an urban legend. Derek Bassett last year described the legend on his blog Mohora: So the story is this commercial for Kleenex tissues was shown on Japanese TV back in 1986 or so. It features an actress in a white dress sitting next to a child made up to look like a baby ogre. There is a really creepy song in a foreign language that when researched, is actually an old German folk song with the words “Die, die, everyone is cursed and will be killed.”…
Real-Life “Killer in the Backseat”
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 14, 2007
A real-life version of the "killer in the backseat" urban legend has been reported. Folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand gives the following description of this classic tale in his Encyclopedia of Urban Legends: "Would-be killer lurks in back, detected by motorist or gas-station attendant." In all versions, the intended victim is a woman. In the versions in which another motorist spots the assailant, the driver notices that the car or truck following her keeps blinking his lights or shifting them to the high beam. When she reaches home -- still followed by…
Neiman Marcus Cookie Giveaway
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 10, 2007
Today was the 100th anniversary of Neiman Marcus. The retailer celebrated by giving away free chocolate chip cookies in most of its stores, as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the $250 Cookie Recipe legend that has caused it so much trouble over the years. And if you missed the cookie giveaway, you can still download the recipe for its cookies free from its website. One of these days I'm going to have to try them out to see how they are. (via David Emery)
Categories: Food, Urban Legends Comments (1)
Chinese Arrest Creators of Urban Legends
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 22, 2007
Joe Littrell forwarded an interesting story from the People's Daily Online. It reports that police in China have arrested or warned 60 people this year for spreading rumors or threats through text messages and the internet. Wow. If spreading urban legends was a crime here in America, just imagine how many people would be in jail. Some of the messages that rumormongers circulated: On July 11, a text message began circulating in Jiangsu, claiming victims of full-blown AIDS were spreading the disease by using toothpicks at local restaurants and returning them to the containers on tables. The message warned…
Do babies born on buses get free rides for life?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 08, 2007
About a week ago Lydia Irvin gave birth to a daughter while riding on a New York City Transit bus. Apparently it even specifies on the baby's birth certificate that she was born on a bus. So now Ms. Irvin is hoping that her daughter will qualify for free bus rides for the rest of her life. She'll just have to wave her birth certificate at a driver, and be able to go wherever she pleases. After all, according to urban legend that's the freebie that bus-born babies get. However, the transit authorities have splashed cold water on Irvin's hopes:
Wormburgers
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 02, 2007
An article in the Japanese Mainichi Daily News (which claims to be merely repeating a story that appeared in a magazine called Fushigi Knuckles) tells the story of the attempt to introduce Wormburgers in Japan. An Aomori Prefecture company, so the story goes, tried to market worms as food for human consumption because of the high nutritional value of worms: Instead of a beef patty, the Worm Burger used ground worms, cut the onions a little, added wheat flour, a runny egg and blended in milk to make it go down easier. The magazine notes that despite the best intentions, the Worm…
Categories: Food, Urban Legends Comments (10)
Yet another urban myth from Iraq
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Sat Jul 14, 2007
On the heels of the "American troops eat babies" myth comes the story of the Giant, Man-eating Badgers of Basra: Ferocious British badgers an urban myth in Iraq
American troops eat babies?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Tue Jul 10, 2007
Among the many difficulties American troops are encountering in Iraq (I won't get all political here by listing them), one is a little bit more bizarre than others. It seems that some Iraqis believe that American soldiers carry poison-tipped bullets and eat babies. Kinda tough to win hearts and minds when you're dealing with people who think you dine on infants, I would imagine. I wondered if this story itself was a hoax until I followed the link I found and saw that it lead to Stars and Stripes, the newspaper of the U.S. Army. Again, I'm not being political here, I'm just saying that I think Stars and Stripes is a more credible source for something like this than,…
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