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Category: Urban Legends
Philippine Urban Legends (Jose Rizal was Jack the Ripper) — Status: urban legends An article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer records some Philippine urban legends: the "White Lady" of Balete Drive, Robina Gokongwei's "snake twin" lurking in department store dressing rooms, the elusive "kapre" that lives in an ancient mango tree near the Emilio Aguinaldo house in Kawit town, and Andres Bonifacio's love child from a place aptly named Libog (now Santo Domingo) in Albay province. None of those mean much to me. But most of the article is devoted…
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006.   Comments (190)

Popular Myths in Science — Status: Urban Legends LiveScience.com has a list of the 20 Most Popular Myths in Science. Included in the list are classics such as these: It takes seven years to digest gum. Hair and fingernails continue growing after death. A penny dropped from the top of a tall building could kill a pedestrian. Humans use only 10 percent of their brains. You get less wet by running in the rain. Eating a poppy seed bagel mimics opium use. Oddly enough, they also throw a few strange-but-true items…
Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006.   Comments (17)

Comic Book Urban Legends — The Comics Should Be Good blog is creating a database of comic book urban legends. I don't recognize all the names and characters referred to, but it makes for interesting reading anyway. Here's a few samples (full explanations for all of these at Comics Should Be Good): Wolverine's costume was patterned in part on the uniforms of the Michigan Wolverines football team. (False) Joker was originally killed off in his SECOND appearance! (True) Wolverine was initially intended to be a…
Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006.   Comments (7)

Is Lip Balm Addictive? — Status: Undetermined There's an old urban legend that states that the makers of lip balm (Carmex, specifically), add ground-up fiberglass to their product. The glass irritates people's lips, causing them to feel like they need to apply the balm again and again. There's another urban legend that states that lip balm interferes with the moisture sensors in the lips, causing lips to become dry and requiring more lip balm to be applied. Neither of these urban legends is true. Carmex debunks…
Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006.   Comments (21)


Campus Urban Legends — Status: urban legends The Auburn Plainsman (student paper of Auburn University) has a short article about campus urban legends. The ones they list are: Endowment from old lady bans sorority houses: This UL seems to exist on every college campus that doesn't have sorority houses. It states that some rich old woman left a large sum of money to the college on the condition that they ban sorority houses, because she considered them to be brothels. The more likely reality, among those…
Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006.   Comments (33)

Are Santa’s Reindeer Female? (An update) — Status: Debunking an urban legend Last year there was some discussion on the site about the gender of Santa's reindeer. The theory (as stated in an email that was doing the rounds) is that Santa's reindeer all have to be female because male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, whereas female reindeer retain their antlers until the spring. Big Gary, who's wintering in Alaska, has sent along this photo of "a bull reindeer in Fairbanks, Alaska, this Wednesday, December…
Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2005.   Comments (10)

La Pascualita, the Mexican Corpse Bride — Status: Urban Legend This has already been posted in the hoax forum, but it's too good to ignore. Reuters has reported on a Mexican urban legend concerning a mannequin in the window of a bridal gown store in the city of Chihuahua. Local rumor has it that the mannequin is really the embalmed body of the former store owner's daughter. The former store owner was called Pascuala Esparza. La Pascualita means 'Little Pascuala' (i.e. her daughter). According to the legend her daughter died…
Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2005.   Comments (46)

Japanese Urban Legends — Status: Urban legends The blog of Mari Kanazawa has an interesting post about Japanese urban legends. Here are some of the highlights: Turbo Gramma: When you drive on the highway at a blistering speed gramma knocks on the car window. If you see her, you will have a car accident. Someone made a turbo gramma game. Touch the Red G-String: The delivery company trade mark of Sagawa is "Hikyaku", a traditional Japanese postman. Hikyaku wore a traditional red Japanese g-string Fundoshi! The…
Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2005.   Comments (7)

Searing Meat Seals in Its Juices (and other food myths) — Status: Urban Legend I know a lot of people who swear by the notion that you have to sear meat "to seal in its juices." But I've always thought the idea was a bit far-fetched (though I agree that meat is best cooked hot and fast), so it pleased me to read, in a review of Alan Davidson's Oxford Companion to Food, that most food experts agree that it is indeed an urban legend that searing meat will seal in its juices. About.com's barbeque expert agrees: By definition, searing is to cook…
Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005.   Comments (36)

Rainbow Parties — The recent publication of a novel for teenagers titled RAINBOW PARTY has revived debate about whether or not such 'rainbow parties' are real. As a recent NY Times article explained, "rainbow parties are group oral sex parties in which each girl wears a different shade of lipstick, and each guy tries to emerge sporting every one of the various colors." Such parties are supposedly all the rage with teenagers (kids these days!... what will they think of next?). In the book, a teenage girl…
Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005.   Comments (73)

Twinkies Don’t Last Forever — This month, as I'm sure everyone is aware, is the 75th anniversary of the creation of Hostess Twinkies. To mark that anniversary it's worth linking to this article in which a Hostess marketing person tries to debunk that urban legend about how Twinkies last forever. He claims they only last 25 days. Yeah, right: "We hear that they can survive a nuclear winter. Of course, it’s all urban legend," says Hostess marketing manager Kevin Kaul. But in fact, Interstate Brands Co., Hostess’…
Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2005.   Comments (30)

The Nike Swoosh — 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…
Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2005.   Comments (7)

Welcome to the World of AIDS — 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…
Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2005.   Comments (11)

No Cell Phones While Pumping Gas — 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…
Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005.   Comments (44)

Sex, Death, and Maggots — 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…
Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2005.   Comments (30)

Roommates, Roaches, and Armadillos — 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…
Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2005.   Comments (15)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Urban Legends — 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.
Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2005.   Comments (9)

Knuckle Cracking — 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…
Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2005.   Comments (70)

When I Woke Up My Leg Was Gone — 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…
Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2005.   Comments (13)

10 Best Film Urban Legends — 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…
Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004.   Comments (5)

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.