The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Urban Legends
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:
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…
Yet another urban myth from Iraq
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Sat Jul 14, 2007
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,…
More Iraqi Urban Legends
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 21, 2007
I posted an entry back in 2004 about Iraqi urban legends regarding the American troops. Three years later the same urban legends still seem to be going strong over there. And a new article in Stars and Stripes lists some more: U.S. troops eat childrenU.S. servicemembers use poison-tainted bulletsAmericans peek through women’s clothing with X-ray sunglassesAmericans’ berets are dyed with bloodAmericans have a “cold pill” that they take so they do not get too hot in their gear The article notes that the belief in the legends seems to be getting worse because, now that we've driven most of the educated middle class out of the country "the remaining population is likely to be unschooled…
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 06, 2007
Inspired by the urban legend that if all the people in China jumped at once it would alter the orbit of the Earth, German scientists (working in participation with a German TV show) staged an experiment at a music festival. They arranged for all 50,000 people at the concert to jump at once, and then measured the results. They called it a "gang boing." Here's what happened: In the end, the hoppers created "a mini-mini-earthquake," according to Ulrich Grünewald, who produced the segment for a science program on German television. The ground moved one-twentieth of a millimeter, with four oscillations per second.…
Chinese Killer Bananas
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 31, 2007
Back in 2000 an email rumor was going around here in the U.S. warning of bananas infected by a flesh-eating bacteria. The rumor read, in part, that: Several shipments of bananas from Costa Rica have been infected with necrotizing fasciitis, otherwise known as flesh-eating bacteria... It is advised not to purchase bananas for the next three weeks. Because of this rumor, the Centers for Disease Control had to issue a warning assuring everyone that no shipments of killer bananas had ever arrived from Costa Rica, or anywhere else in the world. It now looks like a variant of the killer-banana rumor…
The Legend of Deerman
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 25, 2007
A series of articles by Dave Clarke of the Star Courier has revived interest in the legend of the Deerman. The legend is local to Kewanee, Illinois. It tells of a creature, with the upper body of a deer and the lower body of a man, that lurks in the woods, occasionally popping up to scare lovers parked on moonlit nights or people wandering around alone. Supposedly if you see Deerman three times you die. Clarke credits Jerry Moriarity, the editor and publisher of the Star Courier during the '50s and '60s, with popularizing the legend of the Deerman in his column "Mostly Malarkey." Half-human/half-animal creatures are a staple of…
Killer Mobile Phone Virus
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 18, 2007
I'm a bit late with this, but I see (via Fortean Times) that last month Reuters reported that rumors were spreading around Pakistan and Afghanistan alleging that: a deadly virus was being sent through mobile phones, and that anyone answering phone calls from some certain numbers would contract a fatal illness. The rumours claimed that "as soon as you answer your phone blood comes out of your mouth, nose and ears and you die" The local phone companies were trying to calm people down, assuring them that it's impossible to contract a killer virus simply by answering your mobile phone.…
PC World’s Top 25 Web Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Sat May 05, 2007
PC World writer Steve Bass compiled a list of the Top 25 Web Hoaxes and Pranks. Here's the list (minus Bass's commentary): The Accidental Tourist Sick Kid Needs Your Help Bill Gates Money Giveaway Five-Cent E-Mail Tax Nigerian 419 E-Mail Scam Kidney Harvesting Time You've Got Virus! Microsoft Buys Firefox The Really Big Kitty $250 Cookie Recipe Free Vacation Courtesy of Disney Sunset Over Africa Alien Autopsy at Roswell, New Mexico Real-Time GPS Cell Phone Tracking Apollo Moon Landing Hoax Sell It on eBay! Chinese Newspaper Duped The Muppets Have Not Already Won Chevrolet's Not-So-Better Idea Rand's 1954 Home Computer Microsoft Buys the Catholic Church Hercules the Enormous Dog…
Quick Links: Pig-Tossing, etc.
Posted by Boo on Wed Dec 20, 2006
Pig-Tossing A number of incidents involving animal throwing have been reported in West Point, Miss., leading one to the conclusion that the sport is the new fad for those to whom cow-tipping is just too passé. Mayor of Lebanon Sends Chain Letter The Mayor of Lebanon was not available to comment after he discovered that the Make-A-Wish chain letter that he sent to 33 other businessmen was a hoax. Woman Sues Over Fake Avocado Dip A Los Angeles woman has filed a lawsuit against Kraft, claiming that what they label as guacamole... well, isn't.
Quick Links: Bear Hunting, etc.
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 23, 2006
Spanish King Shoots Drunk Bear When the Spanish King visited Russia recently he was taken on a bear hunt. But apparently "hunt organizers, keen to make the King of Spain's chances of killing a bear easier, provided a tame one drunk on vodka." Sad. But the last paragraph of the story is even more pathetic: "Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev had trouble with his aim in his later years. Some of the animals he liked to stalk were either tied to trees or plied with booze." (Thanks, Big Gary) Ich Vergessen Here's an urban legend I'd never heard before: "German immigrants arriving at Ellis Island were asked their names, and might…
Hanging Munchkin set for Stage Debut
Posted by Boo on Wed Aug 09, 2006
The well-known and much maligned Wizard of Oz urban legend – that of a scene in the film where one can ‘see’ one of the munchkins hanging himself at the back of the set – is the centre theme of a show opening in Dublin this week. Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh has focused the play, depicting the lives of the actors who portrayed the munchkins, around the premise that the legend is true. The BBC quotes him as saying: "It's a persistent myth - the point about myths is they…
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 02, 2006
image: bastetThe Xenna Corporation has issued a press release in which they detail a number of widely circulated myths about feet. These include: • If a person's second toe is longer than the others, they are dependable, conservative and keep their emotions in check. • If a person's third toe is bigger than the others, they're hot-headed and have a temper. • If a person has long toes, they're among the thinkers of the world. • If a person's feet are wide, they're a hard worker and have strong family values. • If a person's feet are narrow, they're shy and quiet. • If a person…
Did Einstein Consider Geography More Difficult Than Physics?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 25, 2006
Status: Hoax The following quotation is widely attributed to Albert Einstein: "As a young man, my fondest dream was to become a geographer. However, while working in the Customs Office, I thought deeply about the matter and concluded that it was far too difficult a subject. With some reluctance, I then turned to physics as an alternative." Did he ever say it? No. Nor did he ever work in the Customs Office. (He worked in the Patent Office.) In an article in the Toronto Star, Sharon Burnside traces how the quotation became attributed to Einstein in the first place. Apparently it…