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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Urban Legends
Yellowstone Rumor Control
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 26, 2014
Guides at Yellowstone are having to spend more time debunking rumors because of a large increase in the number of scare stories about the park circulating online. The rumors mostly focus on the Yellowstone supervolcano and the fear that it's about to erupt. One rumor claims the park is being evacuated because of an imminent eruption. Another says the release of high levels of helium from the park's thermal features is a sign the volcano is about to blow. (The helium release is normal). Melting asphalt on the roads is also normal. And bison are not fleeing the park. It's common for them to migrate to lower elevations in search of food. [yellowstonegate.com]
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (0)
The Disappearing Redhead Gene
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 09, 2014
Marie Claire notes on its blog that the idea that the gene for red hair could soon become "totally extinct" is just a hoax. [The disappearing redhead gene is a variant of the old disappearing blonde gene urban legend.] Nevertheless, Marie Claire does warn that global warming could cause "a dramatic increase in people born with auburn hair." It's getting this from The Daily Record, which in turn is getting it from a Dr. Alistair Moffat who works at a genetic testing company. Moffat's reasoning is that "red hair in Scotland, Ireland and the north of England is adaptation to the climate. We do not get enough sun and have to…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (4)
Bible Didn’t Stop Bullets
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 07, 2014
Back in February, a bus driver, Rickey Wagoner, claimed that he was shot at by three teenagers while he was standing outside his bus. But he survived because a Bible he was carrying in his shirt pocket miraculously stopped the bullets. (The version of the Bible was a translation by Eugene Peterson titled 'The Message'.) Police have now conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that the bus driver couldn't have been telling the truth. According to the Dayton Daily News: Police ballistics tests showed that bullets fired from the handgun - a 25-caliber Raven model semiautomatic - at the same distance as had been fired at Wagoner’s book penetrated the…
Calling 999 does not charge your mobile phone battery
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 17, 2014
Idiotic things people will believe: The Bedfordshire Police recently posted a statement on their website, informing everyone that calling 999 and then disconnecting immediately will not actually boost the battery life of your mobile phone battery, despite a rumor to the contrary. Apparently emergency operators have been receiving a lot of these phone-charging calls. There's a similar rumor that claims you can recharge your mobile phone by putting it in a microwave for a minute. Also not true. Don’t Ring 999 to Charge Your Mobile – It Doesn’t Work! Bedfordshire Police would like to warn mobile phone users not to phone 999 to charge their mobiles. It is known that…
Categories: Technology, Urban Legends Comments (2)
Pathetic story of a Nigerian man whose kidney was stolen
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 07, 2014
The 'kidney thieves' urban legend has resurfaced in Nigeria, as evidenced by the story below which is circulating on Nigerian news sites (such as here and here). This version of the tale has a slight twist. After having his kidney removed, the victim doesn't realize what's happened until weeks later. He doesn't even realize he's been cut open, because the closure of the incision was "perfectly done and skin was used to cover up the stitch." Pathetic Story Of A Nigerian Whose Kidney Was Stolen In Malaysia [MUST READ] We saw this story and we thought it wise to share it. It's touching and shocking and we…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (0)
Saved by the Myth of Poisonous Poinsettias
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 26, 2013
According to a decaces-old urban legend, the leaves of poinsettias (aka the Christmas Plant) are extremely toxic, and can be fatal if ingested. But the reality is that poinsettias aren't toxic at all. They're not edible, but if you do eat them the worst that will happen is you'll get an upset stomach. You're not going to die. One of the most thorough debunkings of the "poisonous poinsettia" legend can be found in a Nov. 1996 article in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine: "Poinsettia exposures have good outcomes... just as we thought." The authors of the study reviewed 22,793 cases of poinsettia exposure reported to health care…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (2)
New York City Urban Legends (according to People magazine)
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 19, 2013
People magazine recently posted an article that it titled "N.Y.C.'s 8 Craziest Urban Legends Debunked." But that title is misleading, because it turns out the article only lists 3 urban legends, and then the writer must have been unable to find anything else when doing a google search for "New York urban legends," because the other 5 things on the list are random bits of NYC trivia and paranormal speculation. I guess I shouldn't have expected anything more from People magazine. To save everyone the trouble of having to read the article, the 3 urban legends the writer managed to come up with were: Pennies thrown from the top…
Categories: Places, Urban Legends Comments (0)
The Myth of Holiday Suicide
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 17, 2013
According to urban legend, the holiday season sees a spike in suicides. But Scientific American notes that November and December actually have the lowest rates of suicide. The reason is perhaps because "The increased emotional and social support during holiday time temporarily dims the feelings of despair and anguish for many depressed children and adults." But unfortunately the holiday lull is followed by a peak of suicides in the Spring: "As winter thaws into spring, there is the hope for renewal that if not delivered can set into motion agitation and despair."
Categories: Death, Urban Legends Comments (0)
Help Save the Blondes
Posted by The Curator on Sun Dec 01, 2013
Assuming this story is true, it sounds like this woman has fallen for that urban legend about the gene for blonde hair being driven out of existence due to the greater percentage of dark-haired people in the world. According to the legend, the World Health Organization has predicted that in 200 years there will be no blondes left. THIS ANGOLAN LADY WALKS AROUND LONDON CAMPAIGNING TO SAVE BLONDE PEOPLE vice.com Say hello to Maria de Jesus-Lucungo... Maria has made it her life goal to campaign for the protection of the UK's blonde population. She believes that England's flaxen-haired brothers and sisters are under threat of extinction and that, if they disappear, "the…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (2)
The World’s Leading Authority on Poisoned Candy
Posted by The Curator on Sat Oct 26, 2013
In 1985, Joel Best published an article in the sociology journal Social Problems analyzing reports of children receiving dangerous treats on Halloween (razor blades in apples, poisoned candy, etc.). After doing an extensive review of newspaper databases for all cases between 1959 and 1984, he couldn't find a single instance of a child being killed by a Halloween treat, although there were a handful of cases (18) of minor injuries, and a larger number of reports of the discovery of contaminated treats without injury. Although he suspected that most if not all of these discovery reports were hoaxes. So he concluded that the idea of "Halloween Sadism" was…
Alcohol Myths
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 25, 2013
Mental Floss has an interesting, brief article on "6 Absurd Alcohol Myths People Believed During Prohibition". The myths were: Alcohol turns blood into water Merely smelling alcohol could deform unborn children Some bootleg wines were made with cockroaches Most beer drinkers die of dropsy Alcohol can give you a 25-pound liver Drunkards' brains can be used as torches The cockroach wine myth reminds me of the Army Worm Wine that I posted about back in 2005, except that Army Worm Wine was apparently real. Levels of Healing - May 1900 The Spirits of America
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (0)
Oops! We forgot the elevators
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 21, 2013
From Europe comes a good example of the absent-minded engineer urban legend. The most common variant of this legend, which seems to be repeated on almost every university campus, is that the library is sinking, because the engineers forgot to include the weight of the books when designing the building. The version that recently reared its head in the European press is that the Edificio Intempo skyscrapers currently under construction in Spain, which will be Europe's tallest residential towers when completed, won't have elevators on the top 27 storeys because the engineers forgot to design them in. The story, as repeated in newspapers such as El Pais, is that the buildings were originally going…
Categories: Urban Legends Comments (1)
Hippo Eats Man
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 07, 2013
Thanks to Tah for giving me a heads up about this article. The hippo didn't eat a dwarf, but it does give an idea about how it would feel to become hippo food. My favorite line is, "Time passes very slowly when you're in a hippo's mouth." Experience: I was swallowed by a hippo guardian.co.uk There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf. I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry. I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten…
Categories: Animals, Urban Legends Comments (2)
The Argentinian Pet
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 11, 2013
I guess it's possible that con artists down in Argentina are giving ferrets steroids to increase their size, then fluffing up their fur and selling them as toy poodles, but as many people have already pointed out, this sounds an awful lot like a variant of the "Mexican pet" legend. Man gets shock of his life when he buys two toy poodles for $150 only to be told by a vet that they are actually GIANT RODENTS pumped up with steroids to look like dogs Daily Mail Gullible bargain hunters at Argentina's largest bazaar are forking out hundreds of dollars for what they think are gorgeous toy poodles,…
Categories: Animals, Urban Legends Comments (9)
If you kiss someone at Chipotle do you get a free burrito?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 14, 2013
The rumor going around is that if you kiss someone while standing in line at Chipotle this Valentine's Day, you'll be rewarded with a free burrito. But on their facebook page, a Chipotle rep refers to this as a "a bad Internet rumor." Someone else wanted to know if they kissed the burrito itself would it be free. Chipotle says you're free to kiss the burrito, but you're still going to have to pay.
Categories: Food, Urban Legends Comments (1)
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