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Category: Urban Legends
The Nike Swoosh
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 06, 2005
Was the Nike Swoosh (which is perhaps one of the most famous corporate logos in the world, second only to McDonald's golden arches) really designed by a graphic design student who got paid only $35 for it? It sounds like an urban legend playing off of Nike's use of cheap Asian sweatshop labor. But apparently the story is true. At least, the Nike website confirms it. The swoosh was designed in 1971 by design student Carolyn Davidson, and she did only receive $35 for it. However, in 1983 the company gave her a gift of stock as a token of their appreciation.
Welcome to the World of AIDS
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 17, 2005
Here's an old news story (from Dec. 2003), but it's still interesting from an urban legend perspective. An 18-year-old youth in South Africa claims that three women forced him at gunpoint to have sex with them. "The youth claims that after this the women said welcome to the world of Aids." It seems like the police didn't believe his story. They just laughed at him, which isn't surprising considering that his story is exactly like that urban legend about someone who wakes up after a one-night stand to find the person they slept with has disappeared and written 'Welcome to the world of AIDS' on the bathroom mirror. But just imagine if the kid is telling the truth.…
No Cell Phones While Pumping Gas
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 10, 2005
A Connecticut senator, Andrea Stillman, has introduced a bill into the state legislature to impose a $250 fine on anyone who uses a cell phone while pumping gas. She sees it as a public health issue. Here's her reasoning: Stillman said there are already warnings pasted on gas pumps informing people that a cell phone in the proximity of a gas pump could cause an electrical charge that might ignite the pump. However, she said, there are no penalties. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought that whole thing about cell phones making gas pumps blow up was just an urban legend. Engadget agrees, pointing out that "there’s no evidence that…
Sex, Death, and Maggots
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 10, 2005
I came across this story posted on LiveJournal. This may be an urban legend that's been around for a while, but I haven't heard it before: Subject: The most disgusting thing I've ever heard. Ever. So I know this girl. She has all these weird white things in the back of her throat, so she goes to the doctor thinkings she got some nasty STD of the mouth. Turns out its not an STD at all. She has f*****ng maggots growing in her throat. (I know this girl, this is not an urban legend) So the doctor asks how many people shes having sex with and she tells him only her boyfriend.…
Roommates, Roaches, and Armadillos
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 09, 2005
Here's an unusual urban legend that I haven't heard before. It involves a group of students at Texas A&M University who are sharing a house together. It's in the genre of 'roommate horror stories'. According to the story, one of the students is an entomology major and keeps a collection of giant Africanized cockroaches in a terrarium. But during a party the terrarium breaks and the roaches escape, only to start breeding like crazy in the house. To solve this roach problem the students set loose some baby armadillos (since armadillos eat roaches). But soon the armadillos start breeding, without making much of a dent in the roach population, until eventually the house is full of a lot…
Rock ‘n’ Roll Urban Legends
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 23, 2005
The Guardian offers their selection of the 10 greatest rock 'n' roll myths ever. Top of the list is the one about Mama Cass choking to death on a ham sandwich. It was also news to me to find out that Michael Jackson doesn't own the Elephant Man skeleton. I always thought he did.
Knuckle Cracking
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 02, 2005
I'm not a knuckle cracker myself. In fact, I hate it when people crack their knuckles. And I've frequently told people that cracking their knuckles would cause arthritis. After all, that's what everyone says. But according to this NY Times article (republished in the Arizona Republic) it's not true. It's an urban legend. Just reading this description of what causes knuckles to crack makes me cringe: The loud pop of a cracked knuckle is caused by synovial fluid, the thick lubricant that surrounds every joint. When the fingers are stretched or bent backward, the bones of the joint pull apart. This creates bubbles of air in the fluid, which subsequently burst. But as for…
When I Woke Up My Leg Was Gone
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 20, 2005
Here's a news story that bears an eerie resemblance to the urban legend about the guy who shares a drink with a stranger in a bar and wakes up to find his kidney gone. This news report involves a German professor who goes on holiday to Costa Rica and visits a hospital to have them check out his swollen left foot: When I got to the hospital they put me on a bed and I heard the word amputate. I tried to protest, but before I knew it they had given me drugs to black me out, and when I woke up I was at the departure lounge. My suitcases were by my…
10 Best Film Urban Legends
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 22, 2004
Filmthreat.com has a list of the "10 BEST URBAN LEGENDS IN FILM HISTORY". It's an interesting list, but I think they've chosen an odd choice for number one: the 'urban legend' about President Woodrow Wilson allegedly remarking that the ultra-racist film Birth of a Nation was like "history written with lightning" and "all terribly true." I've heard these comments attributed to Wilson many times. In fact, I can remember sitting in quite a few classes and listening to the lecturer make this exact claim. The remarks also appear in numerous history books. To be honest, until I read filmthreat's list I wasn't aware that there was any controversy about their truthfulness. Personally, I think Filmthreat may be cutting…
Jasper and the Yeast Rolls
Posted by The Curator on Sun Dec 05, 2004
This story (author unknown) has been 'floating around' the internet for a few months. I found a discussion of it on alt.folklore.urban. There's an easier to read version of it here. It involves a fox terrier named Jasper who eats twelve uncooked yeast rolls that a woman leaves out to rise before baking. The yeast begins to rise in the dog's stomach, causing him to swell up like a balloon: "He looked like a combination of the Pillsbury dough boy and the Michelin Tire man wrapped up in fur. He groaned when he walked. I swear even his cheeks were bloated." The next day it's worse. The yeast has begun to ferment…
Categories: Animals, Food, Urban Legends Comments (13)
Crucified Santa
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 03, 2004
According to urban legend there was once a department store in Japan that, shortly after the war, displayed a smiling crucified Santa at Christmas, mistakenly believing that that was how Santa was supposed to be displayed. In different versions of the legend the crucified Santa was either a small miniature or an 'enormous effigy'. There's no evidence that the Japanese crucified Santa ever existed. But people here in America have, of course, deliberately stuck Santas up on crosses. Here's an article that refers to a guy who delighted his neighbors back in 2002 by placing a crucified Santa in his front yard: A unique holiday display in Boise…
Categories: Religion, Urban Legends Comments (18)
Which Urban Legend Are You?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 23, 2004
Here's a cute little quiz to waste five minutes of your life on: Which urban legend are you? I'm the classic tale of the gator in the sewer (because everyone knows I'm full of crap, but they keep talking about me anyway).
The Haiku of Big Gary C
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 22, 2004
I've finally made a decision in the urban legend haiku contest. It was tough, because there were so many good entries, but I've decided to give the book to Big Gary C, based on the consistently high quality of his entries. He clearly has a knack for urban legend haiku. Here are a few of his entries: (Ten English Names for Snow) Flakes, drifts, flurries, slush, Blizzard, powder, crust, white stuff, whiteout, ice crystals. We brought our cute pet Back from our Mexican tour. He loves cheese; fears cats. Ev'ry stick of gum I've ever chewed and swallowed …
Win A Book, Contest #2
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 12, 2004
I've received a free copy of David Wilton's new book, Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends, courtesy of Oxford University Press. So I'm having a contest to give it away. The book has just been published. I'm not sure it's even out in stores yet, but you can get a copy here... if you win the contest. First, what's the book about? Wilton debunks all those stories about where words come from, such as 'is GOLF really an acronym for Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden?' or 'does SOS stand for Save Our Souls?' or 'was F**K originally an acronym meaning For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge?' You'll have to…
Categories: Miscellaneous, Urban Legends Comments (143)
Indecently Exposed Toothbrush
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 04, 2004
Jan Harold Brunvand calls it the "Indecent Exposure" urban legend. It involves a vacationing couple whose hotel room is broken into and robbed of everything save a toothbrush and a camera. When they get home and develop the film in the camera, they discover pictures of their toothbrush up the robber's rear end (to put it not so delicately). It appears that this urban legend has now served as the unfortunate inspiration for a prank that a New Zealand golfer played on his rival. As this article describes it: The Dominion Post understands bad blood between teenagers Kauika and Aucklander Kevin Chun boiled over when a bare-bottomed Kauika misused Chun's toothbrush as…
Categories: Pranks, Sports, Urban Legends Comments (1)
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