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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Urban Legends
Real-Life “Killer in the Backseat” — 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…
Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2007.   Comments (9)

Neiman Marcus Cookie Giveaway — 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)
Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2007.   Comments (1)

Chinese Arrest Creators of Urban Legends — 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…
Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2007.   Comments (7)

Do babies born on buses get free rides for life? — 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…
Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2007.   Comments (2)


Wormburgers — 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…
Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2007.   Comments (10)

Yet another urban myth from Iraq — 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
Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007.   Comments (7)

American troops eat babies? — 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…
Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2007.   Comments (17)

More Iraqi Urban Legends — 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…
Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007.   Comments (7)

Jumping Germans — 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…
Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2007.   Comments (4)

Chinese Killer Bananas — 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…
Posted: Thu May 31, 2007.   Comments (8)

The Legend of Deerman — 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…
Posted: Fri May 25, 2007.   Comments (19)

Killer Mobile Phone Virus — 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,…
Posted: Fri May 18, 2007.   Comments (30)

PC World’s Top 25 Web Hoaxes — 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…
Posted: Sat May 05, 2007.   Comments (3)

Quick Links: Pig-Tossing, etc. — 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,…
Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2006.   Comments (14)

Quick Links: Bear Hunting, etc. — 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)
Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2006.   Comments (11)

Hanging Munchkin set for Stage Debut — 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 don't have…
Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2006.   Comments (8)

Foot Myths — 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…
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006.   Comments (25)

Did Einstein Consider Geography More Difficult Than Physics? — 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…
Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006.   Comments (7)

The Frosties Kid Is Dead — Status: Urban Legend A recent ad for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes shows a blond-haired kid dancing around singing "They're going to taste great!" I think this is a British ad. At least, I've never seen it here in America. And all the references to it I've found occur in the British press. For instance, David Whitehouse writes in the Guardian: Pity the poor Kellogg's marketing department... all they wanted to do was make an advert in which a chirpy young scamp would skip his way through the…
Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2006.   Comments (102)

Firediving Image — Status: Photoshopped A Brazilian ad agency (FCB Brasil) has created some pictures as part of a campaign for a diving magazine, one of which illustrates the firediving urban legend (in which a diver gets scooped up by a helicopter bucket and dumped onto a forest fire). The second picture shows a diver getting shot out of a dam. The tagline is "Read Before Diving." Cute. (via Coolzor)
Posted: Tue May 30, 2006.   Comments (3)

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