Monday, December 31, 2007

Immigrants' Tent City on Store Roof

The Island Packet [Hilton Head Island - Bluffton, SC]
26 August 2007

Immigrants living on the Bi-Lo roof?


Hey, did you hear about the tent city on top of a grocery store on Hilton Head Island? It's a group of immigrants living above the Bi-Lo supermarket on Pope Avenue -- or maybe it was the one in Port Royal Plaza ... no wait, it was the Harris Teeter. [...]

Sunday, December 30, 2007

City Fables (Playboy, 1957)

Playboy, November, 1957, pp. 50-1.


three modern, metropolitan folk tales

By Hoke Norris

Fables, traditionally, are little moral tales; but time changes all things, and in our own time, among the complex denizens of urban communities, a new kind of fable has been going the rounds: a kind of amoral -- or even immoral -- tale, usually involving infidelity. You have undoubtedly heard, and told, some of them yourself; others may have escaped your attention. Here are three of the best, collected and retold by Mr. Hoke Norris[.] [...] Says Norris: "I got the fables from men who swore they were true. Not that they personally knew the principal actors, you understand, but the fellow who told them said the fellow who told them..." Thus are all fables, moral or otherwise, born and propagated.

[A wife instructs the man with whom she is having an affair that if her husband ever answers the phone when he calls her, he is not to hang up, but "to make up an apocryphal number and ask if this was that one." It soon happens that the husband instead of the wife does indeed answer the phone, and the man asks if he has correctly dialed Chester 3-0912. Yes, says the husband. Taken aback, the man then asks if it is the Gibraltar Life Insurance Company. Again the husband responds affirmatively. After a pause, the man inquires, "Is Mr. Smith there?" He is informed that he is speaking to Mr. Smith. Outwitted, the man hangs up. "Wrong number," the husband coolly remarks to his wife.]

[A cheating husband tells his wife that he is having an affair with his secretary, an admission that she thinks is a joke. Whenever he says he is having dinner with his secretary, or taking her on a business trip, his wife laughs, and so does he. One day she suggests that they buy a new car, but he says they can't afford it because he has lost thousands of dollars betting on the horses. She thinks he is joking about this, too, but he shows her the check stubs. After this, when he announces that he is taking his secretary out to dinner, his wife's laughter is hollow.]

[The last tale involves an expensive ermine jacket given to an adulterous woman by her lover. To disguise its provenance, she deposits the jacket in a locker at a railway station and then tells her husband that she found its key in the street. He takes up her suggestion to go to the locker to see what it contains, but after taking the jacket, he gives it to his lover. His wife must be content with the box of chocolates that he claims to have found in the locker.] [Ernest Baughman, Type and Motif-Index of the Folktales of England and North America, K1581.12 (a, b)]

Saturday, December 29, 2007

9: Benazir Bhutto's Unlucky Number

The Post [Pakistan]
29 December 2007

Doomed number nine haunted Benazir's life:SMS

Amir Nafees

LAHORE: An SMS carrying information about number 9 that it was the most unlucky number in the life of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairperson Ms Benazir Bhutto remained the talk of the town. [...]

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mount Allison Anecdotes

Donald Wells MacLauchlan, Mount Allison So Fair. Sackville, New Brunswick: Mount Allison University, 1980. ISBN 0-88828-029-7

[Agnes Trueman, wife of George J. Trueman, President of Mount Allison University (1923-45),] was a lovely lady from Upper Sackville stock. She was very well-liked by all but was quite noted for unusual remarks. For example, when the hostess at a tea party she attended asked her how her tea was, she replied, "Oh, it's just the way I like it, cold and weak." At another party she remarked to another lady, "I've been wanting for years to tell you how much I admire that dress you are wearing." [P. 9]

Dr. Harold Bigelow, Mount Allison professor of chemistry and Dean of Men in the 20s and 30s [...] was truly one of those "absent-minded professors." [...] [Pp. 10, 11]

Near the end of his teaching career his memory failed him even more. He was walking down town and as he was passing one of his honors chemistry students, he suddenly looked at his watch and exclaimed to the boy, "Shouldn't you be in the Chem. 6 class right now?" The student replied, "Yes, but I thought I'd skip it today, but shouldn't you be up there teaching it?" [P. 12]

[Allen Gornall, class of 1936,] tells about [Bigelow's] umbrella. Quite frequently the professor would leave it behind some place but one Sunday returning from Church, he proudly said to his wife, "Well, this is one time I remembered to bring the umbrella home." But she gave a sympathetic smile and said, "Harold, you did not take your umbrella to church today!" [P. 13]

William Thomas Ross Flemington was President from 1945 to 1962, after serving as Principal Protestant Chaplain overseas with the Canadian Army. [P. 16]

I enjoyed an incident he related to me. In his capacity as Principal Protestant Chaplain Overseas during the last War, he was on one occasion, crossing the Atlantic on a large warship. On ships large enough to carry a ship's Chaplain, the latter would always say Grace, but if he were absent it was the duty of the Captain. Ross described the proceedings at his first meal. As he entered the ward-room to take his place the officers were all standing quietly behind their chairs awaiting the Captain's arrival. When the Captain arrived, the following brief dialogue ensued: Captain: "Is the Chaplain present?" An officer: "No, Sir." Captain: "Thank God". Certainly a short blessing, although somewhat ambiguous. [P. 18]

There is a story Ross Fleminton [sic --bc] told us on one occasion that really bears repeating.

He related that he was on a train a while ago, and seated opposite him were two U.N.B. [University of New Brunswick -- bc] students who obviously knew who he was, although they did not speak to him. The boys started a loud conversation that ran as follows: 1st boy: "Where are you heading for anyway?" 2nd boy: "Oh, I'm going as far as Vancouver, because I want to get as far away from any Mount Allison fellows as I can -- and where are you going?" "Well," replied the 1st boy, "I'm going all the way to Tokyo because I'm sure there will be hardly any Mount A boys there."

Then Ross told us he leaned across the aisle and said to the boys, "Why don't you fellows go to Hell, there won't be any Mount A people there!" [P. 19]

A peculiar phenomenon occurred in one of Prof. [Roy] Fraser's classes which proved to be an interesting problem for research. One of the girls in a biology class would come in each morning and give a gasp and jump from her seat when she sat down. It was obvious that she was getting a shock. He had her sit in other seats and still she experienced the same disturbing experience while other students at the same desk did not feel anything. At last the Professor deduced that an electric charge was being created by the rubbing of her silk bloomers, or whatever underpants were called at that time, and it was discharged when she touched the metal of the seat. The other girls, however, wore similar underthings, so why was she unique? Finally he hit upon the solution -- she was knock-kneed! [P. 23]

There are many tales told of the old days on the campus. I cannot vouch for the authority of the following, but it was told to me as a true incident. There was some gathering at Mount A which was attended by the Anglican bishop, and he was put up for the night in residence. Arrangements were made for him to be served breakfast in his room.

Next morning a kitchen-boy took up the tray. He was quite nervous about it all but had been carefully briefed what to say when he would knock on the door. He was told that if the guest asked who it was, his reply should be: "It's the boy, M'Lord." So all the way up the stairs the lad kept saying over and over, "It's the boy, M'Lord." Arriving and knocking, he was greeted by: "Who is it?" and his immediate response was: "It's the Lord, m'boy!" [Pp. 51-2]

I think the following was at Mount A, but it may have happened elsewhere. A young lady in the library stopped the librarian passing by and asked "Where can I find this book?" She pointed to a line in an index book that read "How to Hug," and was quite disappointed when she learned these were just letters forming part of the index. [P. 182]

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Will on the Chest

Playboy, May, 1954, pp. 41-2.


[No byline]

[...] [Photographer Lejaren] Hiller recalls one experience in his career that fairly well illustrates the sort of unbelievable life he has led. He was sent down to Greenwich Village to photograph a man for an advertising testimonial. The man absolutely refused to have his picture taken, but since Hiller had come all that way for nothing, the man invited him in for a couple of drinks. After the couple, they had a couple more, and a couple more after that. The alcohol made them chummy and the man suggested they throw a party.

"Why not," said Hiller. "You call your friends and I'll call mine."

They had a party.

Hiller's next recollection was noon the following day. He got to his feet, found his hat and coat, the door, and a taxicab. The cab took him home.

In his apartment, he headed for the shower. Under the cool current, he thought of his hat, and removed it. This reminded him of his clothes, so he stepped out of the shower. Undressed, he glanced in the mirror and was surprised to note writing across his bare chest. He tried to read it, but it appeared backwards in the mirror and he was too tired to try and figure it out. He'd just crawled into bed when the phone rang. It was a friend from the party with some rather startling news. Their late host had put a gun in his mouth, after the party, and blown his head off. Returning from the phone, Hiller again thought of the writing on his chest. With the help of a second mirror to correct the reversed image in the first, he was able to read: "I hereby bequeath all my worldly possessions..." Hiller stopped reading. It was the last will and testament of the guy who'd blown his brains out -- scrawled across Hiller's chest. [...]

[For a longer version of this anecdote, see H. Allen Smith, The Compleat Practical Joker (NY: William Morrow & Co., 1980), 303-5. It doesn't appear in the 1953 edition.]

Playboy Party Schools Article & Beltless Pants

Athens Banner-Herald [GA]
15 Sept. 2007

Huckaby: Party school rankings nothing more than an advertising gimmick

Darrell Huckaby

[Some believe that Playboy once published an article on party schools but omitted a certain university because the magazine refused to rank professionals with amateurs. The columnist receives evidence that the basis for this belief is a print ad (suspiciously undated) for Jaymar Sansabelt slacks.]

The Capital Times [Madison, WI]
26 December 2007

Doug Moe: The big 'Playboy party school' mystery tied to beltless pants?

Doug Moe

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bad Potato

National Lampoon, Dec. 1991, p. 75.


The San Francisco Chronicle, in an item on the retirement of airline purser Jerry Rand from Pan Am, recalled this encounter between Rand and "a bitchy woman passenger":

The woman, after a stream of complaints, hollered, "Steward, this potato is BAD."

Rand walked over to the woman, picked up the potato, then whacked it with a spoon, saying, "Bad potato, bad potato, bad potato."

Hoboken Monkey-Man

Hudson Reporter [NJ]
23 December 2007

Ever heard of the 'Hoboken Monkey-Man'?

Residents recall mythical primate who terrorized kids

By Madeline Friedman
Reporter staff writer

Twenty-five years ago, hysteria hit the hallways of Hoboken's schools. At least, according to Weird New Jersey Magazine, kids became so terrified in 1982 of the mysterious "Hoboken Monkey-Man" who supposedly had killed a teacher, that the city's Police Department created a special task force to deal with mounting fears.

However, dozens of residents and police officers said last week that only part of the story published by Weird New Jersey is true. [...]

Crystallised Fruit

Sunday Telegraph [UK]
23 December 2007

Sandi Toksvig: peace on earth and a box of fruit

[...] There is a wonderful story, which may or may not be true, but is worth telling anyway, about a similar litany of desires. According to urban legend, during the yuletide of 1948 a Washington DC radio station asked ambassadors from a number of countries in the capital their preferred Christmas gift, and the replies were recorded for a special holiday broadcast.

The expected answers were intoned: 'Peace throughout the world,' from the French ambassador; 'Freedom for all people enslaved by Imperialism,' from the Russian; and then a call went through to Sir Oliver Franks, the representative of Her Majesty's Government.

'Well, it's very kind of you to ask,' he replied. 'I'd quite like a box of crystallised fruit.' [...]
Russ Merifield, Who Said That? Memorable Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes Selected from The Empire Club of Canada Speeches 1903 - 2003. Mary Byers, ed. Toronto: The Empire Club Foundation, 2003, p. 225.

June, 1973

William Rees-Mogg, MA, Editor, The Times of London

We had an unfortunate Ambassador [in Washington] who got things wrong with the press….He was telephoned and asked what he wanted for Christmas and innocently enough replied. He tuned into the radio the next day to hear the following statement read out: The Russian Ambassador says that for Christmas he wants peace on earth. The French Ambassador wants friendship between nations; but the British Ambassador wants a box of crystallized fruit. The British Ambassador was the only one of the three who got what he asked for.
Pass the Port: The Best After-Dinner Stories of the Famous. Cirencester, UK: Christian Brann, 1976, p. 45.

The Late Sir Michael Cary, K.C.B., Formerly Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence.

The British Ambassador was in Washington some years back. About a fortnight before Christmas he was rung up by the local T.V. Station.

"Ambassador," said the caller, "What would you like for Christmas?"

"I shouldn't dream of accepting anything."

"Seriously, we would like to know and don't be stuffy. You have after all been very kind to us during the year."

"Oh well, if you absolutely must, I would like a small box of crystallised fruits."

He thought no more about it until Christmas Eve when he switched on the T.V.

"We have had a little Christmas survey all of our own," said the announcer. "We asked three visiting Ambassadors what they would like for Christmas.

"The French Ambassador said: 'Peace on earth, a great interest in human literature and understanding, and an end to war and strife.'

"Then we asked the German Ambassador and he said: 'A great upsurge in international trade, ensuring growth and prosperity, particularly in the underdeveloped countries. That is what I wish for Christmas.'

"And then we asked the British Ambassador and he said he would like a small box of crystallised fruits."
Nigel Rees, The Guinness Book of Humorous Anecdotes. Enfield, UK: Guinness Publishing, 1994, p. 73.

A former British ambassador to France was asked by Paris Match what he would like for Christmas if he could have absolutely anything he wanted. The ambassador at first demurred and said no, no, he couldn't possibly, but eventually made his choice. The next issue of Paris Match duly carried its feature 'What the world would like for Christmas' in which Mikhail Gorbachev said he wanted an end to the arms race, Ronald Reagan opted for peace on earth, and so on. Finally there was the British ambassador: 'A small box of crystallized fruits, please.'

This joke made an appearance late in its life in Lynn Barber's column in The Independent on Sunday on 29 December 1991. I was well familiar with it, as Jonathan James-Moore, later to become the BBC's Head of Light Entertainment (Radio), used it invariably as his warm-up joke in the early 1980s. The earliest version of it I have found occurs in Pass the Port (1976), but it also appears in Geoffrey Moorhouse, The Diplomats (1977) where it is told as the result of a Washington radio station telephoning various ambassadors in December 1948. In this version, the British ambassador, Sir Oliver Franks, was the one who said, 'I'd quite like a box of crystallized fruits.'
[An overlong version of this anecdote, involving a Canadian ambassador, appears in John Robert Colombo, The Penguin Book of Canadian Jokes (Toronto: Penguin Books, 2001), pp. 475-7.]

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Grateful Terrorist

News 10 [Syracuse, NY]
22 December 2007

Terror hoax

By: Web Staff

An urban legend has reached across the Atlantic and arrived in Syracuse for the Christmas season and it is fueling much buzz in the area.

It is the story of a man who is shown kindness by a cashier at a store, in this case a shop at Carousel Center, and later returns to warn the cashier of an impending terror attack. [...]

The Post-Standard [Syracuse, NY]
22 December 2007

Police: No terrorist plot against Carousel Center

Posted by Delen Goldberg

Crucified Santa

Kitsap Sun [WA]
22 December 2007

Strange Santa Scene Makes Bremerton Man's Comment on Christmas


Santa's keeping watch over a West Bremerton neighborhood in a way that has some offended and everyone else at least a bit curious about the motive.

In the front yard of a house on the 300 block of Olympic Avenue stands a crucifix about 15-feet tall, bearing Santa Claus in place of Jesus. [...]

Friday, December 21, 2007

Coyotes Introduced to Kill Deer, Ohio

Telegraph-Forum [Bucyrus, OH]
21 December 2007

Crawford County residents worried about coyotes

By Kimberly Gasuras
Telegraph-Forum staff

[Mike Schiefer, a hunter who lives on Ohio 4, "thinks coyotes were originally brought into the area 10 or 15 years ago. 'Rumor has it that a trucker was in the area who said he had a load of coyotes to drop off here, because of the high number of car-deer accidents.' "]

Serial Killer Rumors, Florida

Tallahassee Democrat [FL]
20 Dec 2007

LCSO: E-mails Are 'Blatant Lie'

Maj. Mike Wood of the Leon County Sheriff's office handed out the following e-mails at a news conference Wednesday to refute their validity. [...]

[E-mails claim that a Florida serial killer cuts off head, limbs, of victims.]

"Medical Myths," BMJ Article

British Medical Journal
22 Dec. 2007, 335(7633):1288-89.

Medical myths

Rachel C Vreeman and Aaron E Carroll

[People should drink at least eight glasses of water a day; We use only 10% of our brains; Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death; Shaving hair causes it to grow back faster, darker, or coarser; Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight; Eating turkey makes people especially drowsy; Mobile phones create considerable electromagnetic interference in hospitals.]

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gang Initiation at Wal-Mart Rumors, NC

The News & Observer [Raleigh, NC]
19 December 2007

Police refute gang initiation rumor

From Staff Reports

A rumor circulating in Durham about a gang initiation planned at a Wal-Mart appears to be an urban legend, police say. [...]

WWAY-TV [Wilmington, NC]
19 December 2007

Law enforcement: Wal-Mart rumor is urban legend

SHALLOTTE -- Rumors about gang initiation rituals that target women are circulating in Columbus and Brunswick Counties.

Every person NewsChannel 3 asked told a different version of this rumored ritual. The basic premise is that gang initiates need to kidnap and harm a single white woman in a parking lot or gas station in order to become members. [...]

Monday, December 17, 2007

Thieves Puncture Tires in Shopping Center Parking Lot

Kansas City Star [MO]
17 December 2007

Widespread e-mail not factual, but still encourages shoppers' vigilance


[An e-mail claims that thieves are puncturing the tires of vehicles in the parking lot of Kansas City's Metro North Shopping Center, then robbing the drivers as they attend their flat tire. A police officer says "the story was somewhat bogus."]

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Deer Population Secretly Controlled

The Post-Standard [Syracuse, NY]
16 December 2007

Legends abound about who controls deer population


[...] Each year, [said David Riehlman, senior wildlife biologist for the DEC's Cortland office,] disgruntled or misinformed hunters point to so-called "urban legends" to try to explain or rationalize what's happening with the deer population. [...]

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gang Initiation Rumors, Memphis, TN

WMC-TV [Memphis, TN]
14 Dec 2007

Memphis Police downplay gang initiation rumors

Memphis Police say an email being forwarded in Memphis and surround areas warning of possible gang initiation dangers is likely untrue. [...]

Eyewitness News [Memphis, TN]
15 December 2007

Police Say Gang Initiation Email a Hoax

Reported by: Dana Rebik & Adrienne Phillips

Memphis Police say a frightening email, and some text messages, circulating [in] the Mid-South is a hoax. The emails and messages claim gangs are initiating new members by making them flag down women, ask for directions, then shoot them. [...]

Gold Menorah Kept by Vatican

The Jewish Standard [NJ]
14 Dec. 2007

Myths and the menorah

By Lois Goldrich

Some contend that the gold menorah from the Second Temple is hidden in the basement of the Vatican.

But according to Steven Fine, this is just an urban myth. [...]


Biblical Archaeology Review 31, no. 4 (2005), 18-25, 62-3.

The Temple Menorah—Where Is It?

By Steven Fine

Giant Human Skeleton Discovered

National Geographic News
14 December 2007

"Skeleton of Giant" Is Internet Photo Hoax

James Owen

The National Geographic Society has not discovered ancient giant humans, despite rampant reports and pictures. [...]

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dog Bites Penis Stuck Through Fence Hole,25197,22925782-12335,00.html

The Australian
14 December 2007

Puppy latches on to urinating man's member

By staff writers

A DRUNKEN man urinating through a fence got a nasty surprise when a playful puppy in the adjoining lot latched onto his member. Kann Veasna took a break from drinking wine at a street stall to relieve himself through a hole in a fence, according to news agency DPA. [...]

[Compare this report to the folk cartoon of a boy who sticks his penis through a hole in a wooden fence and gets it bitten by a goose. See Alan Dundes & Carl Pagter, Never Try To Teach a Pig To Sing (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991), 378-81; J. M. Elgart, Over Sexteen (NY: Grayson Publishing, 1951), 27. -- bc]

Gershon Legman, More Limericks (New York: Bell Publishing, 1980), p. 415.

A knot hole he happened to see,
So he stuck his dink through it to pee.
Then he gave a loud yell:
"Whoop! Damnation!! Hell!!!"
(On that side of the fence was a bee.)

[From 1888.]

Students Spike Teacher's Coffee with Visine

Casper Star-Tribune [WY]
14 December 2007

Prank with eye drops could result in criminal charges

Star-Tribune capital bureau

CHEYENNE -- A prank in which Visine is slipped into an unwitting person's drink to induce severe diarrhea is cropping up in Wyoming, and a Cheyenne teacher was hospitalized this week after becoming the latest victim.

Jo L. Miyamoto, 58, a substitute at Johnson Junior High, ingested the eye drops after they were slipped into her coffee by a student on Monday, police said. [...]

Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
14 December 2007

It's no joke

Prank harms local teacher

By Becky Orr

CHEYENNE - An apparent prank being pulled by a Johnson Junior High student on a long-term substitute landed the teacher in the hospital Monday. [...]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Patient Misunderstands Doctor's Advice

National Lampoon, Oct. 1984, p. 22.


Urging that doctors provide more explicit instructions for the use of drugs, Hospital Pharmacy magazine reported: "A patient visited his physician with a complaint of excessive sweating from his axillae. The doctor wrote a prescription for aluminum chloride solution. He handed the prescription to the patient and said, 'Rub this under your arms twice a day.' The patient left the office only to return a few days later. The patient complained to the doctor that he continued to have the sweating problem. He also asked for a new prescription slip. The old one had by now become smeared and tattered from rubbing it under his arms."

Friday, December 7, 2007

Safe Way to Cook Pizza

The Timaru Herald [New Zealand]
7 December 2007

Safe way to cook pizza

[An American tourist at the Hermitage Hotel in New Zealand put a frozen pizza in the room safe, which she mistook for a microwave oven, claims hotel general manager Denis Callesen.]

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Did Astronauts Have Sex in Space?

The Guardian [UK]
6 December 2007

Sex in space. Or not

Did astonauts have sex in space? And why are people interested in this subject now?

Jon Henley


Astronauts have never had sex in space - Russian expert

MOSCOW. Dec 5 (Interfax-AVN) - Russian experts have denied foreign media reports claiming that U.S. or Russian astronauts have had sex in orbit. [...]

[Below is the recycled article that is the basis for the current controversy.]

The Guardian [UK]
24 Feb 2000

Astronauts test sex in space - but did the earth move?

Jon Henley in Paris

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Folklore Forum

Folklore Forum, volumes 1-35 (1968-2004), are now available for free viewing on-line. See

Some articles involving contemporary legends:
F. A. de Caro, 1969. "J.F.K. Is Alive: A Modern Legend." Folklore Forum 2(2):54-55.
Rosan Jordan de Caro, 1970. "Sex Education and the Horrible Example Stories." Folklore Forum 3(5/6):124-7.
William Hugh Jansen, 1973. "The Surpriser Surprised: A Modern Legend." Folklore Forum 6(1):1-24.
Janet Dressler, 1975. "Exempla Usage in Catholic Parochial Schools." Folklore Forum 8(4):130-41.
Jean-Bruno Renard, 1991. "LSD Tattoo Transfers: Rumor from North America to France." Folklore Forum 24(2):2-26.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bucket of Eyes

[On December 6, 1917, two ships collided in Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia. The resulting explosion leveled much of the city and killed an estimated 2,000 people. Fred Rockwell's account of the aftermath of the disaster, in a letter dated December 12, 1917, was sent to "two brothers, one of whom was the grandfather of Globe and Mail employee Lynne Wilkins." -- bc]

The Globe and Mail [Toronto]
1 Dec. 2007, p. F12.

Flying babies, shards of glass and a bucket of eyeballs

[...] A dozen people I passed on the street had no other marks on them except black eyes caused by the concussion, which in several cases I am told popped their eyes right out.

I heard of a chap going into a temporary dressing station in the North End with one of his eyes in his hand and inquiring whether they could do anything for him. Woolley, a soldier who lives in our street, tells of being in one of the hospitals and seeing a surgeon operating on a man's eyes. At the doctor's side was a bucket nearly full of eyes. [...]

I give these stories for what's its worth as I cannot vouch for them. [...]

Stuart Trueman, Tall Tales and True Tales from Down East. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1979, p. 141.

"It is told that a Moncton physician [helping out after the Halifax Explosion] suffered a nervous breakdown, aggravated by the fact that near him stood a pail full of staring eyes -- taken out without anaesthetics."