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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Urban Legends
The Haiku of Big Gary C — 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. …
Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2004.   Comments (7)

Win A Book, Contest #2 — 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…
Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2004.   Comments (143)

Indecently Exposed Toothbrush — 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…
Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2004.   Comments (1)

Girl Gets Her Ride Pimped, Then Carjacked — An urban legend has been circulating about Pimp My Ride, the MTV show on which people get surprised by having their raggedy hoopties (read: old cars) transformed into tricked-out pimp-mobiles. I'll let this poster from the Elle.com forums describe the rumor, since she does it so much better than I could: okay remember the beloved episode of the girl Nile with the pink cadillac and they put the river in the back her car. i think it was like episode 2 or something. i was told that she…
Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2004.   Comments (11)


Coca-Cola As An Insecticide — Can Coca-Cola work as an insecticide? Indian farmers seem to think so. The Guardian reports that many of them have taken to spraying their cotton and chilli fields with the soft drink. The article quotes an agricultural analyst who suggests that this might actually work because the sugar in the drink would "attract red ants to feed on insect larvae". But a Coca-Cola spokesman dismisses the entire story as an urban legend: "We are aware of one isolated case where a farmer may have used a…
Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2004.   Comments (13)

Man Dies, No One Notices — Yahoo News offers up this brief report about a British train conductor who "stamped and carefully returned the ticket of a slumbering passenger without realizing the man was dead." I guess people only realized the guy was dead once the train pulled into the station (York) and he failed to wake up. Now, by coincidence, I took this very same train last month, and the seats were pretty cramped, so either the train was quite empty, or whoever was sitting next to the dead guy was really…
Posted: Mon Nov 01, 2004.   Comments (7)

Vanishing Hitchhiker on Mount St. Helens — The Tacoma Washington News Tribune reports on a Vanishing Hitchhiker legend local to Mount St. Helens. (in case you're not familiar with it, the Vanishing Hitchhiker urban legend goes like this: a guy picks up a hitchhiker who then mysteriously vanishes from inside the moving car. He realizes that the hitchhiker was a ghost.) Following the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, many drivers in the area swore they saw a woman dressed in white thumbing a ride by the side of the…
Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2004.   Comments (3)

Man Sells Wife’s Kidney — Here's an odd spin on the old urban legend about sharing a drink with a stranger at a bar and then waking up the next morning in a bathtub full of ice, without a kidney. How about, instead of just sharing a drink with that stranger, you also get married to him, and then he sells off your kidney. According to the Daily Times, Ashfaq convinced Zohra to undergo surgery so that the couple could have children, but instead had one of her kidneys removed and sold for Rs.200,000. Having no…
Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004.   Comments (5)

Do Mobile Phones Make You Smarter? — There's an urban legend that's been floating around for years claiming that the radio waves from mobile phones can cause brain cancer. Actually, I wouldn't be willing to fully put the 'urban legend' stamp on that claim... it seems like there may be a few elements of truth to it. But anyway, now some people are going to the opposite extreme, arguing that not only do mobile phones not cause brain cancer, but that they actually help the brain work better and make you smarter. How? Because…
Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004.   Comments (5)

Shallow American Roads — While browsing through the alt.folklore.urban usenet group, I noticed a debate raging over the question of how deep American roads are. Apparently (so the urban legend goes) American roads can only be built to a fairly shallow depth in order to make the land under them more easily reclaimed for farming. By contrast, European roads are built to a much deeper depth. As a consequence, European roads are much more durable than American roads and need fewer repairs. The usenet group didn't…
Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2004.   Comments (13)

Iraqi Urban legends — Here's an interesting article about Iraqi urban legends regarding the American forces. Here's a few of the more popular beliefs: that the bulletproof vests American soldiers wear actually contain air-conditioning units (I'm sure the soldiers wish this were true) that the sunglasses worn by almost all American soldiers allow them to see through clothing And that American armored vehicles are protected by electrical fields that detonate RPG rockets before they strike, but that this…
Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2004.   Comments (18)

Give a Kidney for Christ — Most people have probably heard that old urban legend about a guy who shares a drink with a stranger at a bar and then wakes up in a bathtub full of ice the next morning without a kidney... the victim of kidney harvesters. But the following case is almost the exact opposite. Members of the 'Jesus Christians' cult are lying and scheming in order to get rid of their kidneys, even though the medical authorities don't want them. The leader of the cult, Dave McKay, encourages his followers…
Posted: Wed Jul 07, 2004.   Comments (12)

666 on the Alamo — Is the number 666 slowly becoming visible on the front of the Alamo? And did it first appear there after Ozzy Osbourne urinated on the building while dressed as a woman back in 1982? And when the number becomes fully visible will "something terrible happen"? Yes on all counts if you believe the urban legend that's floating around. Brenda Layland gave me a skeptical heads-up about this one, and for the past fifteen minutes I've been staring at these pictures of the Alamo trying to figure…
Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2003.   Comments (17)

Legal Urban Legends — Bob Levey of the Washington Post debunks a few internet legends about people who have received huge financial awards for mishaps that were very minor or their own fault. Such as the one about the woman who threw a soda at her boyfriend in a restaurant, then slipped on the puddle, and successfully sued the restaurant for $113,500. It never happened.
Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2002.   Comments (0)

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