Friday, February 29, 2008

Fraudulent Holocaust Memoir

The Associated Press
29 February 2008

Writer Says Holocaust 'Memoir' Not True


BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - A Belgian writer has admitted that she made up her best-selling "memoir" depicting how, as a Jewish child, she lived with a pack of wolves in the woods during the Holocaust, her lawyers said Friday. Misha Defonseca's book, "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years," was translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film in France. [...]

[Another fraudulent Holocaust memoir, Fragments, was written by Bruno Dossekker (aka Binjamin Wilkomirski). See Stefan Maechler, The Wilkomirski Affair (NY: Schocken Books, 2001).]

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Update: Patrick Propson Charged

Appleton Post-Crescent [WI]
28 February 2008

Kaukauna man who reported beating charged with lying to police

By John Lee
Post-Crescent staff writer

APPLETON — A 22-year-old man whose tale of a roadside beating was remarkably similar to a common urban legend has been charged with lying to police.

Patrick R. Propson, 624 Alyssa St., Kaukauna, told police who were called to an emergency room where he was being treated Sept. 26 that three men attacked him after signaling him to pull over on U.S. 41. [...]

Appleton Post-Crescent [WI]
12 March 2008

Urban legend tale lands Kaukauna man on trial

APPLETON -- A man whose tale of a roadside beating paralleled a common urban legend is headed to trial for allegedly lying to police.

Patrick R. Propson, 22, 624 Alyssa St., Kaukauna, did not appear Tuesday in Outagamie County Circuit Court for his initial appearance on two counts of obstructing police.

His attorney, Sarah Kons, entered not-guilty pleas on his behalf, and a trial was scheduled for May 20-21. [...]

Swans Eaten by Immigrants

The Sun [UK]
28 February 2008

Who ate all the swans?


PILES of swan carcasses stripped for food have been found at a squalid camp used by East European immigrants.

The Sun called in police and the RSPCA yesterday after locals revealed how the royal birds are being illegally slaughtered and their pitiful remains discarded. [...]

[The Daily Mail, as expected, repeats the story, cribbed from The Sun.]

Daily Mail [UK]
28 February 2008

Swan bake: carcasses and piles of feathers found next to cooking pots at migrants' camp

[Some earlier articles about swan-eating immigrants:]

The Sun [UK]
4 July 2003

Asylum gang had two swans for roasting

Crime Editor

CALLOUS asylum seekers are barbecuing the Queen's swans, The Sun can reveal.

East European poachers lure the protected Royal birds into baited traps, an official Metropolitan Police report says.

The swans, plundered from rivers and parks around London and Southern England, are then cooked and eaten.

Hundreds of the graceful creatures have been killed. A police spokeswoman confirmed last night: "We are appealing for information over the disappearance of swans." [...],3604,991267,00.html

The Guardian [UK]
4 July 2003

Missing swans may have been stolen for food, say police

Mark Oliver

At least 100 swans have gone missing and a "strong line of inquiry" is that they have been stolen for food, Scotland Yard confirmed last night.

The majority of the missing swans have disappeared from the River Lea and other areas in east London and police have increased the number of patrols in the area. [...]

The Independent [UK]
5 July 2003

Police baffled by stories of asylum-seekers barbecuing the Queen's fowl

By Terri Judd

Aslyum-seekers have been accused of all manner of ills in society, from making false claims for sanctuary to begging aggressively and forming organised gangs. Yesterday two tabloid newspapers claimed that they had been trapping swans for barbecues.

But appearances can be deceptive. The reports stated that a "major investigation" had been launched after an "official Metropolitan Police report" blamed "Eastern European gangs".

The situation had become so dire that Enfield police were being forced to patrolling the river Lee to safeguard the Queen's fowl.

But yesterday Scotland Yard stated: "There is no police report." While there is concern fuelled by a drop in the swan population, the police spokeswoman added: "There appears to be a perception that this may be attributable to Eastern Europeans. We stress we have no evidence of this." [...],,2-2003363245,00.html

The Sun [UK]
8 Aug 2003

Poachers snatch swan

A GANG of poachers were today spotted dragging a swan from a river by its neck.

The men, described by police as being of Arabic or Mediterranean appearance, are thought to have thieved the bird to eat as a delicacy. [...],7558,1096634,00.html

The Guardian [UK]
1 Dec 2003

Dead meat?

Stories of asylum seekers stealing donkeys - and swans - to eat have turned out to be false. So why have the newspapers not apologised, asks Roy Greenslade

Daily Telegraph [UK]
15 July 2004

How I took on The Sun - and lost

Nick Medic complained to the PCC over an article about asylum seekers roasting swans. He tells his story

Limerick Post [Ireland]
8 June 2006

Incredulous Polish deny eating our swans

by Lorraine Carey

A CURIOUS rumour is going around Limerick that our Polish community is eating our swans.

Swan feeding is a familiar custom in Limerick but anyone Polish throwing bread to the birds is now being eyed with suspicion as a rumour circulates that swan is a Polish delicacy. [...]

Limerick Post [Ireland]
18 June 2006

Poles react to swan story

LAST week's Post article which explored the incredible rumour that the local Polish were eating our swan, has sparked a lively reaction. [...]

BBC News
22 Nov 2006

Hungry man who killed swan jailed

A man who claimed he killed a swan because he was hungry on the second day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has been jailed for two months.

However, Shamshu Miah, 52, from Llandudno was released because of the time he has already spent in custody. [...]

The Daily Mail [London, UK]
7 Aug 2007

Sorry, poached swan's off: Calls for clampdown on river bandits from eastern Europe


There are few sights so serene as a swan sailing majestically along the Grand Union Canal.

Except, that is, when it is being chased by a gang of hungry, knife-wielding Eastern Europeans.

Polish and Lithuanian immigrants have been seen trying to drag the 20lb birds away, while the remains of some have been found butchered on the towpath near Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire. Hundreds are believed to have disappeared from the area. [...]

[And just for fun:]

Weekly World News
2 Oct 2006


By Mark Miller

TUFTONBORO, N.H. -- Knowing that the failure of new restaurants is extremely high, Ross Hyde decided to stand out. He opened the International House of Swans.

"Most people don't know that swan is sort of a cross between chicken and duck," said Hyde. "They're high-protein and low-fat, with a delicious taste." [...]

This is The West Country [UK]
5 February 2010

The mysterious case of Bridgwater's missing swans

By David Hemming

A FAMILY of popular swans have mysteriously vanished from Bridgwater's docklands area with rumours circulating they have been killed and eaten. [...]

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Rebel Against Authority" Day (2),0,3857292.story

The Morning Call [Allentown, PA]
27 February 2008

Rumor of violence spreads through schools

Bethlehem, Allentown adding security for Friday in light of threats.

By Steve Esack Of The Morning Call

The hazy rumor of school violence associated with Feb. 29 started in Bethlehem shortly after Thanksgiving, and as leap year's Friday approaches, the ''229'' threats have now spread to at least one other Lehigh Valley school district. [...],0,2223633.story

The Morning Call [Allentown, PA]
28 February 2008

Area schools address Friday threat rumors

Districts' tactics vary on what could be hoax. 'All the radars are up.'

By Sarah Fulton
Special to The Morning Call

A growing number of area school districts are beefing up security and sending home letters to allay fears about the widespread and so far unfounded rumors that Friday will be a day of rebellion against authority. [...]

CBS 3-TV [Philadelphia, PA]
28 February 2008

C.B. South Increases 'Leap Year' Security

WARRINGTON, Pa. (CBS 3) ― The so-called "Leap Year threat" has brought fear and concern to parents and students in Bucks and Lehigh Counties. [...]

The Express Times [PA]
28 February 2008

Leap day mayhem rumors met with skepticism, fear

By DOUGLAS B. BRILL and colin mcevoy
The Express-Times,au29_threats_web.article

Beacon News [IL]
28 February 2008

School threats reported in Geneva, Kaneland

BY BEACON NEWS STAFF,0,4230934.story

The Morning Call [Allentown, PA]
29 February 2008

Rumors of school violence 'out of control'

Nonetheless, area police departments, districts are on alert as '229' arrives.

By Steve Esack
Of The Morning Call,0,4483852.story

The Morning Call [Allentown, PA]
29 February 2008

'229' rumors keep most Bethlehem high school students home

Fears about rumored uprisings at Lehigh Valley schools today -- Feb. 29 or "229" as students have been calling it -- kept nearly all of Bethlehem Area School District's high school students home.

School bus after school bus at Liberty High School in Bethlehem and Freedom High School in Bethlehem Township arrived with only one or two students aboard. [...]

The Virginian-Pilot [VA]
29 February 2008

Leap Day threat at Landstown High appears to be hoax

By Steve Stone
The Virginian-Pilot


A cell phone text message threatening a shooting at Landstown High School on Friday may be an extension of a "229" Leap Day threat that has its roots in Pennsylvania. [...]

The Intelligencer [Philadelphia, PA]
1 March 2008

The power of a rumor

The Intelligencer

At Central Bucks South, the absentee rate was about 40 percent. At William Tennent, about 20 percent of students were out. [...]

Pocono Record [PA]
1 March 2008

Wild Web rumors sweep Pleasant Valley schools

By Dan Berrett
Pocono Record Writer

Internet-fueled rumors of a rebellion at schools in the Lehigh Valley on Friday rippled to the Pleasant Valley School District. [...]

The Express-Times [PA]
1 March 2008

Day of threats turns into a day about -- nothing

No mayhem and little attendance on Feb. 29

The Express-Times

The 29th day of February passed without incident at most Lehigh Valley schools, but heightened security and poor attendance made the day anything but normal for students. [...],0,6788079.story

The Morning Call [Allentown, PA]
1 March 2008

False alarm

Rumors of school violence, linked to an unusual date, turn out to be nothing

By Genevieve Marshall and Marion Callahan
Of The Morning Call

Rumors of violence that gripped the region and led thousands of high school students to stay home Friday, without even a viable threat, formed a perfect storm of gossip and circumstance that swirled out of control and gave rise to unnecessary fear and panic. [...]

Express-Times [PA]
17 March 2008

Pink Army man seeking peace, peace of mind after 229 confusion

The Express-Times

EASTON -- When Randy Melick started painting his little plastic army men pink, he had no idea he was throwing himself into the middle of a storm.

The gesture was an artistic call for nonviolence and an end to the war in Iraq, but it led to the local artist and businessman becoming falsely associated with the 229 phenomenon, leaving a mark on his reputation that still remains. [...]

University of Kentucky Drops Holocaust Studies (3)

New York Times
27 February 2008

Struggling to Squelch an Internet Rumor


Prof. Jeremy D. Popkin returned to his office at the University of Kentucky on Feb. 19 after teaching a lesson about Vichy France in his course on the Holocaust. During its 30 years on the curriculum, the class has grown perpetually popular, with 60 applicants vying for half as many seats. The university has even created a Judaic Studies program.

Yet, when Professor Popkin opened his e-mail that day, he was informed that his class did not exist. “This week, the University of Kentucky removed the Holocaust from its school curriculum,” the message stated, “because it offended the Muslim population, which claims it never occurred.” [...]

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gang Initiation Rumor, Montgomery, AL

WSFA-TV [Montgomery, AL]
26 February 2008

Gang Initiation Rape Email Circulates; But Is It Real?

If you haven't gotten a copy in your email, just wait. It's probably coming. It's a story of how gang members are jumping into a woman's car at a Montgomery convenience store, trying to rape the woman. [...]

Spitting on Vietnam Veterans

Salem News [Oregon]
26 February 2008

Who really Spat on Veterans During the Vietnam War?

Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - Americans overwhelmingly believe that U.S. combat veterans returning from Vietnam were spit on by anti-war protesters in airports. Many vets will tell you it happened, and others will tell you that they never saw anything close to it.

I have had vets tell me details about experiencing this and I believe them, but is there more to the story than meets the eye?

A former Vietnam era protester from San Francisco who worked with many of the era's most vocal protesters, Redford Givens, says the people doing the spitting weren't hippies, but government provocateurs. [...]

Monday, February 25, 2008

Condom Hair Bands?

The Independent [South Africa]
25 February 2008

Condom hair bands?

Taipei - A Taiwan woman has complained that the hair bands she bought from a Chinese department store were made of condoms, a newspaper reported on Monday.

Miss Hsu, from Taichung, central Taiwan, bought three packets of hair bands for six Chinese yuan (about one US dollar) from a Two Yuan Store in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, in 2007, the Apple Daily reported.

Hsu began to use the Chinese hair bands recently but found that they snapped after being used for two or three times and made her scalp itchy.

When Hsu tore open the dark velvet covering the elastic band, she found that it looked like a cut-up condom. [...]

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Effect of Raised Floors on Ghosts

Fortean Times [UK] 233 (April 2008), p. 71.


Ghost foreshortened

A friend of my mother lived for many years in an old house beside the canal in Marple, Cheshire. She claimed that the upper rooms of the house were haunted by what appeared to be the ghost of a child. Other members of her family had also seen this apparition without distress or alarm. The occasional visitations were taken as part of the old building's character, along with the gurgling plumbing and creaking timbers.

Some years ago, builders working inside the house discovered that the ceilings in the downstairs rooms had been raised by about two feet (60cm), with the result that the floors in the upper rooms were now two feet higher. In the 18th century, many aspiring middle-class families did this to make their ground floor rooms appear 'grander'.

My mother's friend thought nothing of it until one evening as she was preparing for bed the ghostly visitor made an appearance, drifting out of one wall, floating across the room and disappearing. As she looked on, she realised that the figure was not a child at all but a fully-grown adult walking on a floor two feet lower than it is now. The 'memory' of the ghost was of something that existed 200 years ago but had long since been removed.

Martyn Day
Skopje, Macedonia

Harry Price, Poltergeist Over England. London: Country Life Ltd., 1945, p. 113.

On October 23rd, 1929, Sir Charles Oman, M.P., gave a lecture to a revived Oxford University S.P.R. [Society for Psychical Research -- bc] and was asked by Dr. R. H. Maret whether there was any truth in the story that Archbishop Laud still haunted St. John's College. He had been told that the level of the floor had been changed and now Laud was only to be seen from the knees upwards. Sir Charles replied that it was noises (thumps, bangs, and 'sounds of dragging') that had been heard -- the ghost had not been seen.

Elizabeth Tucker, Campus Legends. A Handbook. Westport, Conn. & London: Greenwood Press, 2005, p. 71.

Cazenovia College has had two dorm fires in the same residence hall over the years of the college's existence. After the first fire the dorm was rebuilt so that it looked exactly like the one that was lost to the fire. The second fire killed a girl who couldn't get out of the building in time. When the building was rebuilt the dimensions of the building were changed. The floors were now a foot higher than they were in the original building. The residents of the new building over the years have reported hearing a girl crying through the halls at night.

Also in the new building there is a common area with book shelves, and it has been reported that the girl can be seen throwing books off the shelves, but over there, her feet are not present because she died in the old building where the floors were a foot higher than they are now.

Hans Holzer, Ghosts: True Encounters With the World Beyond (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 1997), p. 337.

[Holzer took a photo in Winchester Cathedral that showed a "transparent group or rather procession of hooded monks, seen from the rear, evidently walking somewhat below the present level of the church floor. I checked and found out that the floor used to be below its present level, so the ghostly monks would be walking on the floor level they knew, not ours." See also pp. 734-6.]

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dingoes Released by Government Agencies

Gladstone Observer [Australia]
23 February 2008

Snarling dingo bails up woman at mailbox

[Julie Kelner is usually unconcerned about dingoes on her property about 12 km outside of Ambrose, Queensland. Most of them are timid, but recently an aggressive male dingo confronted her and had to be scared off by a neighbor with a gun.]

She said there were rumours circulating in her neighbourhood that the dingos had been removed from Fraser Island by government agencies and released in the nearby National Park.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Muffled "Here"

Syracuse [NY] Herald-Journal
12 May 1983, p. A2

Inmate's attempt at trash dash smashed

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (UPI) -- Jail officials say they discovered an inmate hiding in a large plastic trash bag hanging to the bars of a cell, hoping he would get taken out with the trash.

The escape attempt by James Hughes yesterday ended when Sgt. Don Gallahue noticed he was one prisoner short during a head-count.

Gallahue said he knew five of the nine prisoners in the cell block on sight, but when he called the names of the other four on the list, only three replied.

He called Hughes' name a second time but got no response. On the third attempt he heard a muffled "here" from the area where the bag was hanging, and the inmate was found "hunkered down" amid the garbage.

Hughes is in jail awaiting trial on four counts of burglary and one of grand theft auto.

Paul Harvey, Jr., ed., Paul Harvey's For What It's Worth. NY: Bantam Books, 1992, p. 93.

For What It's Worth...

In a county jail in South Florida -- jail officials found a plastic trash bag hanging to the bars of a cell.

Inside was Jimmy Jones.

A prisoner who hoped he'd get taken out with the trash.

And he might have...

Except during roll call his reflexes took over.

And when the name Jimmy Jones was called...

From inside the bag came a muffled response: "Here."

May 12, 1983

[Apparently radio personality Paul Harvey based his humorous item on a current news report, but changed the prisoner's name. He also failed to mention that the name had been called more than once, an important detail that makes the prisoner's response not as reflexive as Harvey suggested.

It's uncertain how accurate the original report is -- the three times the prisoner's name was called is suspiciously folkloric -- but it must be recognized that Harvey's storytelling expertise turned it into a good numskull story.

See William Hansen, Ariadne's Thread, 136-8, for "tales about foolish fugitives who give themselves away by speaking."]

Fidel Castro Given "Das Kapital" to Read in Prison


The Guardian [UK]
22 February 2008

Fidel Castro and the effectiveness of prison

Sean Clarke

Reading today's Guardian lead story, that Jack Straw has asked magistrates to send fewer people to prison, I was reminded of an old - possibly apocryphal - story about Fidel Castro.

Castro was imprisoned in 1953 for a failed revolutionary attack on the barracks of Moncada in Santiago de Cuba, by which he hoped to bring down the US-friendly government of Fulgencio Batista. The story goes that while in prison, one of his less enlightened jailers decided that the commie prisoner needed a crash course in the values of capitalism, and gave him a book to read in his cell. The book was Das Kapital.

Apologies for the lack of reference - the story's remembered from history books[.] [...]

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gang Initiation Rumor, New Zealand

New Zealand Police

News Release
22 February 2008

Gang initiation email a hoax.

An email warning drivers not to flash their headlights at oncoming cars as they could become a victim of gang initiation, is a hoax say police.

The email headed: "Don't flash headlights at any car with no lights on" states police officers working with the DARE programme have issued the warning.

"This email is a typical urban myth which has gained momentum," says acting National Crime Manager, Detective Superintendent Malcolm Burgess.

An initial email began circulating about two weeks telling drivers that if they flashed their lights they would become the target of the gang initiation which involved shooting and killing everyone in the car.

"The email warning has morphed in the last few days to take on a New Zealand context and names local Auckland gangs who will apparently be conducting these rites this weekend, " said Mr Burgess.

"The email even states now that police are reluctant to release the information for fear that the gangs will change their tactics and dates. This is complete rubbish"

Mr Burgess said the email appeared to have originated in America. He said anyone receiving the e-mail should delete it as it is a hoax.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Razor Blades in McDonald's Playland Tunnel

Stuff [New Zealand]
20 February 2008

McShock: Blade cuts girl in kiddies' play tunnel

By LYN HUMPHREYS - Taranaki Daily News

Security has been increased at McDonald's in New Plymouth after a staff member's stomach was sliced open by a blade left in a the play tunnel. Lisa Daurua received a 7cm gash below her navel and required eight stitches. [...]

[Daurua believes the blade had been deliberately planted in the tunnel.]

Taranaki Daily News [New Zealand]
21 February 2008

Police, Labour Dept investigate McDonald's incident


Police and the Department of Labour are investigating an incident at McDonald's in New Plymouth after a young worker's stomach was sliced open while cleaning the playground.

But McDonald's head office says it is confident that the blades found were not left as a malicious act and that increased security in all their restaurants will avoid copy-cat incidents. [...]

Stuff [New Zealand]
27 February 2008

Fast food worker cut by pen, not razor


A broken pen and not a razor blade is being blamed for cutting a teenage staff member in a McDonald's restaurant Playland tunnel. [...]

"No external party has been found to be involved in the incident, and no crime has taken place," said McDonald's managing director Mark Hawthorne.

"The incident... has been found to be an accident caused by a broken pen belonging to the crew person."

Did Suicide Bombers Have Down Syndrome?

The Associated Press
1 February 2008

Female Bombers Strike Markets in Baghdad


BAGHDAD (AP) - Remote-controlled explosives strapped to two mentally retarded women detonated in a coordinated attack on Baghdad pet bazaars Friday, Iraqi officials said, killing at least 73 people in the deadliest day since the U.S. sent 30,000 extra troops to the capital last spring.

The chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, said the female bombers had Down syndrome and that the explosives were detonated by remote control -- indicating they may not having been willing attackers in what could be a new method by suspected Sunni insurgents to subvert stepped up security measures. [...]

[The article notes that a child suicide bomber who died in January 2005 appeared to have Down syndrome, according to Iraqi police.]

The Associated Press
20 February 2008

US: Bombers Didn't Have Down Syndrome


BAGHDAD (AP) - The U.S. military said Wednesday that two women used as suicide bombers in attacks earlier this month had undergone psychiatric treatment but there is no indication they had Down syndrome as Iraqi and U.S. officials initially had claimed. [...]

Monday, February 18, 2008

How the Media and Goldfish Differ,23599,23231671-13762,00.html
18 February 2008

Goldfish 'three-second memory' myth busted

Article from: AAP

A 15-year-old South Australian school student has busted the myth that goldfish have a three second memory. Rory Stokes, from the Australian Science and Mathematics School in Adelaide, conducted an experiment to test the commonly held theory that goldfish have short memory spans. [...]

Sunday Telegraph [UK]
3 Oct 2004

Fast-learning fish have memories that put their owners to shame

By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent

If you thought fish were cold, wet creatures who forget everything in three seconds flat, think again. Scientists have found they are fast learners, carry mental maps around in their heads - and can retain memories for months. [...]

Daily Telegraph [UK]
30 January 2006

Painful memories for goldfish

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Popular mythology holds that goldfish have three-second memories. Now it seems that they can remember pain for at least a day, according to research that will reopen the debate about whether angling is a cruel sport. [...]

Nordstrom Refunds Customer's Tires Purchase

Miami Herald
18 February 2008

Nordstrom president discusses Florida market


One of the most legendary Nordstrom customer stories is the one about the man in Alaska who brought in a year-old set of tires because he wasn't happy with how they stood up to the winter weather. The store clerk gladly took them back and refunded his money.

But wait, Nordstrom doesn't sell tires, so why would they do that? Nordstrom had taken over the chain where the man bought the tires and converted the former auto-parts store into a department store.

While it sounds more like urban legend, President Blake Nordstrom promises it's really a true story. [...]

Painting the Forth Bridge

Reuters UK
18 February 2008

Painting the Forth bridge -- end in sight

LONDON (Reuters) - For over 120 years the job of painting the colossal Forth railway bridge has famously been a never-ending task.

So much steel is involved in the 1.5-mile long rail bridge over the Firth of Forth that, the legend goes, by the time the painters finish, they need to start over again at the other end. [...]

BBC News [UK]
18 February 2008

Forth Bridge painting set to end

The process of painting the Forth Rail Bridge is finally set to end in four years' time, it has been announced.

The need for continuous maintenance of the structure has passed into folklore and led to the coining of a phrase for a never-ending job. [...]

The New Yorker, 7 Sept 1929, p. 17.


Notes and Comment

Investigation to determine the dreariest job in the world has brought to light the fact that the fence at Woodlawn Cemetery requires painting once a year -- that is, each paling must be covered with a coat once in every three hundred and sixty-five days. Two men are employed on the work, and as punctually as they complete the round, the year completes its round. Then they start over again. [...]

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Snow-Day Rituals

The Hartford Courant [CT]
20 January 2008

The Secret Power Of Pajamas

Snow-Day Ritual Calls For Inside-Out Sleepwear, Spoon


[Dursin, a teacher at Glastonbury High School, learns about his students' ritual of wearing pajamas inside out and putting a spoon under the pillow in order to cause it to snow so much school must be cancelled.]

A Diet of Instant Noodles and Coke

The Jakarta Post [Indonesia]
17 February 2008

Lost in the supermarket

Simon Pitchforth

[...] A friend here once told me a story, no doubt apocryphal, of someone who supposedly ate nothing but Indomie and drank nothing but Coca-Cola for a year and then died of a massive brain tumor. This sounds plausible if you ask me, but no doubt I'll be tucking into another bowl of noodles again soon. [...]

A Pot of Frogs,0,7418229.story

Los Angeles Times
17 February 2008

A war on women

Ann Jones

[Beleaguered women in Sierra Leone's Kailahun District like to tell a story about a woman who was cooking frogs in a pot when rebels entered her village and informed her that they were there to save her from the government. The brave woman replied, "Then you must go to the capital. The government is not in my pot."]

Women in Kailahun District tell that story over and over, and they laugh every time. They are so proud of that lone, bold old woman who told off those rebel men. That's the spirit of survival, still alive in them -- though they must know that the rebels probably shot that old woman and ate her frogs.

Tipping His Chair Causes Student's Death,,2257569,00.html

The Observer [UK]
17 February 2008

Rock-steady chair means an end to classroom tipping

New design will save thousands of pupils from falling over as they fidget in their seat

Anushka Asthana, education correspondent

It is an image familiar to every parent and teacher -- a child leaning back on a chair, balancing precariously on the rear two legs. For many people the rebuke of 'You'll fall and hit your head' will bring back memories.

Of the 7,000 schoolchildren admitted to hospital each year as a result of chair-related accidents, 70 per cent were rocking back dangerously, according to an analysis of government statistics by a south London teacher. [...]

In an online discussion on the Times Educational Supplement website, some teachers discussed how they stopped children tipping . 'I tell them of the kid I read about who leant back, tipped up and hit his head on the radiator's bleeder pipe, which penetrated his skull and killed him outright,' said one. 'Possibly an urban myth.' [...]

Gang Initiation Rumor, Troy, Alabama

Troy Messenger [AL]
16 February 2008

Hoax e-mail causes scare

Matt Clower, The Messenger

An e-mail circulating through Troy about a would-be killer hiding in a woman's car at a gas station is simply not true, local authorities have said.

The e-mail was apparently forwarded widely among Troy residents on Friday. It relates an allegedly true incident of a man creeping into the back seat of a woman's car while she pumped gas at the Horizon gas station in Troy. The gas station attendant alerted the woman when she saw the man slip into the car. The police were called and they surrounded the vehicle. After his arrest, the man told police he'd intended to kill the woman as part of a gang initiation. [...]

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Attempted Abduction of Woman at Mall, Claims Email

WPBF-TV [Palm Beach Gardens, FL]
15 February 2008

E-mail Warns Of Rumored Kidnapping At Gardens Mall

Officials Say Rumor Is Untrue

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- An email circulating through South Florida describing an alleged abduction at the Palm Beach Gardens Mall has local residents worried, WPBF News 25 reported.

Gardens Mall marketing director Michele Jacobs said, however, that there is nothing to fear and that the e-mails are inaccurate. [...]

Friday, February 15, 2008

Adopted Kids Used For Organ Transplants

CHealth [Canada]
15 February 2008

Kids sold as donors?


VIENNA, Austria -- Are children being adopted for organ transplants? suggests just that, leaving UN officials wondering whether the so-called adoption agency is a hoax or another unnerving layer to the ever-growing human trafficking industry of organ transplants. [...]

Medical Adoptions

Claim: Web site offers to sell third-world orphans for adoption as organ donors.

Poisoned Valentine Suckers, Enid, Oklahoma

The Enid News and Eagle [OK]
15 February 2008

Poison candy hoax sparks near panic

By Cindy Allen

ENID, Okla. — An isolated incident involving a piece of metal found in a valentine sucker in Lakeland, Fla., turned into near panic locally Thursday when a fax was sent to area schools claiming 60 children had been poisoned by the tainted candy. [...]

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Porn Kept in Cambridge University Library Tower

The Guardian [UK]
14 February 2008

The secret love lives of the Victorians

Kathryn Hughes

For decades the Cambridge University Library Tower has been a source of excited mythmaking among undergraduates. No one quite knew what books were stored there, but that didn't stop them speculating. And by far the most common rumour doing the fevered rounds was that the tower was chock-full of Victorian porn, so filthy that the powers-that-be had decreed that no one would ever be allowed to set eyes on it. For, if they did, everyone involved would be struck blind. Or turned to stone. Or, worse still, have their reader's pass rescinded. [...]

Daily Telegraph [UK]~
14 February 2008

Secrets of Cambridge 'porn' library revealed

By Stephen Adams

For decades generations of Cambridge undergraduates have fantasised about a secret stash of Victorian pornography in the university's library tower. [...]

Braces of Kissing Teens Locked Together,1,221001.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Chicago Tribune
14 February 2008

How teens wearing braces got caught kissing


As a longtime orthodontist in Vernon Hills, Dr. Lee Graber has seen all manner of dental disasters. But nothing compares to the dental emergency he fielded back in 1977 -- apparently the only known case of braces interlocking during a kiss. [...]

Weekly World News, 16 July 1996, p. 39

Teens' braces lock during kiss

CHICAGO -- A pair of unidentified teenagers were rescued from a popular lovers' lane and taken to an all-night dentist after their braces became entangled while they were smooching.

Authorities say the embarrassed couple, who were discovered by another pair of sweethearts, had spent from three to four hours attached face to face by the wire on their teeth.

Mystery Man Hands Out Cash in Colombia,easy-money-fever-causes-trouble-in-colombia--feature.html

Earth Times [UK]
14 February 2008


'Easy money' fever causes trouble in Colombia

[...] Medium-sized towns and small villages have seen thousands of their residents stay up late to wait for an elusive character who "hands out money."

The phenomenon has already happened in Villavicencio and Zipaquira, where many say they have seen a black man driving through the streets in a luxury vehicle during the night to hand out wads of bank notes with as much as 4 million pesos (2,100 dollars).

Dismissed as an "urban myth" by the media, believers say the money belongs to a drug baron who died and left it to the people as an inheritance, or to a criminal who prefers to give away everything he has amassed before being captured by police. [...]

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Athletes Abstain From Sex Before Competitions

National Post [Canada]
13 February 2008

The coitus conundrum

Could engaging in copulation throw you off your game?

Jill Barker, Canwest News Service

When it comes to love, athletes are just as romantic as the next guy. That is, as long as they don't have a big game the next day. An energetic romp between the sheets the night before a competition, some athletes and coaches say, can lead to poor performance the following day. [...]

The Ithacan [Ithaca College, NY]
14 February 2008

No sex before the big game

By Ben Strauss Columnist

[...] On South Hill, Ithaca senior Sonia Kedzierski knows the drill. She's no athlete herself, but she's dated them.

"I've dated baseball and soccer players and in my experience they won't have sex [a few days] before their games and they really stick to it," she said. "This is why I don't date athletes anymore." [...]

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Terrible Tale

Truman Capote, Portraits and Observations. The Essays of Truman Capote. NY: Random House, 2007, pp. 277-8.


[In this essay about a yacht cruise Truman Capote and some friends took through the Greek Islands, there is a section titled "A Terrible Tale," which is the captain's account of how in his youth he had been on the crew of a yacht chartered by an English widow and her 17-year-old son. The boy, who had undertaken the cruise to see the islands he had learned about in his studies, asked to be set ashore on a small island north of Demos, where there was a well-preserved temple. The woman and the boy, who had a withered leg and walked with the help of canes, were left on the island for the night. At dawn, the captain recalled, he rowed back to the island and discovered that the boy had been "stripped to a skeleton" and his mother, wading in the water, left fearfully mutilated and half-mad. Only after spending months in an Athens hospital was she able to relate what had happened: under a full moon they prepared a picnic on the temple steps, when a ravenous horde of rats poured from the temple and attacked them. She dragged her son into the surf, but the rats swam after them and pulled him back onto the beach and devoured him. According to the captain, "This woman is still alive. She lives in Nice. I've seen her -- sitting in a chaise on the promenade. She wears a full veil. I'm told she never speaks to anyone."]

Truman Capote's Initial Offer

Truman Capote, Portraits and Observations. The Essays of Truman Capote. NY: Random House, 2007, p. 461.


[O]ne night I was sitting with friends at a table in a crowded Key West bar. At a nearby table, there was a mildly drunk woman with a very drunk husband. Presently, the woman approached me and asked me to sign a paper napkin. All this seemed to anger her husband; he staggered over to the table, and after unzipping his trousers and hauling out his equipment, said: "Since you're autographing things, why don't you autograph this?" The tables surrounding us had grown silent, so a great many people heard my reply, which was: "I don't know if I can autograph it, but perhaps I can initial it."

Truman Capote, Portraits and Observations. The Essays of Truman Capote. NY: Random House, 2007, pp. 502-3.


My funniest memory, though, is of four or five years ago, when I was staying with Tennessee in Key West. We were in a terrifically crowded bar -- there were probably three hundred people in it, both gays and straights. A husband and wife were sitting at a little table in the corner, and they were both quite drunk. She had on a pair of slacks and a halter-top, and she approached our table and held out an eyebrow pencil. She wanted me to autograph her belly button.

I just laughed and said, "Oh no, leave me alone."

"How can you be so cruel?" Tennessee said to me, and as everyone in the place watched, he took the eyebrow pencil and wrote my name around her navel. When she got back to her table, her husband was furious. Before we knew it, he had grabbed the eyebrow pencil out of her hand and walked over to where we were sitting, whereupon he unzipped his pants and pulled out his cock and said -- to me --"Since you're autographing everything today, would you mind autographing mine?"

I had never heard a place with three hundred people in it get that quiet. I didn't know what to say -- I just looked at him.

Then Tennessee reached up and took the eyebrow pencil out of the stranger's hand. "I don't know that there's room for Truman to autograph it," he said, giving me a wink, "but I'll initial it."

It brought down the house.

Lawrence Grobel, Conversations with Capote. Da Capo Press, 2000 [1985], p. 43.

You did get something from an autograph seeker in a Key West bar -- an amusing story? Could you relate it?

It was in a bar in Key West and it was very, very crowded. I was sitting there with Tennessee. And this woman came over to this table where we were sitting and she had on a little pull-up shirt and she pulled up her shirt and handed me an eyebrow pencil. And she said, "I want you to autograph my navel." I said, "What?" And she said, "Just write it like you would the numerals around a clock." I said, "Oh no, forget that." And Tennessee said, "Oh, now, go on, go ahead." So I wrote my name: T-R-U-M-A-N C-A-P-O-T-E. Right around her navel, like a clock. This had caused a certain silence in this room. She went back to her table and her husband was in a rage. He was drunk as all get-out, and he got up from the table and came over and he had the eyebrow pencil in his hand. He looked at me with this infinite hatred, handed me the eyebrow pencil, unzipped his fly, and hauled out his equipment. By this point there was a dead, total silence in the whole bar. Everybody was looking. And he said, "Since you're autographing everything, how'd you like to autograph this?" There was a pause...and I said, "Well, I don't know if I can autograph it, but perhaps I could initial it."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tom Jones Insures His Chest Hair

Daily Mirror [UK]
5 February 2008

Hearthrob Sir Tom Jones insures his chest hair for £3.5 million

Response to reports of Tom insuring his chest hair
[Undated; accessed 11 February 2008]

The story published in the Daily Mirror (UK) on Feb 5 is completely fabricated. No such insurance policy exists or has ever been considered. We assume this is just the Mirror having a bit of fun and hope no one takes this kind of 'reporting' seriously.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

No Leprosy Outbreak in Springdale, Arkansas

The Morning News [AR]
8 February 2008

Health Experts Dispel Leprosy, Tuberculosis Rumors

By Bill Lonon

There are no outbreaks of tuberculosis or leprosy in Northwest Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Department of Health, which released a statement Friday to correct what it called erroneous reports repeated all day to local, state and federal government officials. [...]

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
9 February 2008

SPRINGDALE : Officials: Leprosy story false


No outbreaks of leprosy or tuberculosis exist in Springdale or elsewhere in Northwest Arkansas, state health officials said Friday in an attempt to allay fear following a TV station's report Thursday night. [...]

[Up to 8,000 people from the Marshall Islands live in Springdale, Arkansas. Leprosy "is a substantial issue in the Marshall Islands," but state officials insist there is no outbreak of the disease in Arkansas. Dr. James Phillips, the Health Department's branch chief of infectious diseases, states, "We have had leprosy in Arkansas since forever. Some people get the idea that leprosy just came with the Marshallese. That's not true."]

Friday, February 8, 2008

Photos of Cougars in Illinois

Morris Daily Herald [IL]
8 February 2008

IDNR debunks Internet rumor of cougars in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is addressing recent Internet rumors claiming photographic evidence of cougars in Illinois. [...]

Ragaman Energy Drink "Suppresses Virility"

Stabroek News [Guyana]
8 February 2008

No truth in 'idle rumour' linking Ragaman to impotence [...]

Distributor says, rumour sparked by competitors

Top Brandz Distributors, the sole importer of the popular energy drink Ragaman has moved to scotch rumours that the product suppresses virility in men which the company says originated with competitors who market other energy drinks locally. [...]

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Origin of song "Indian Reservation"

News & Observer [Raleigh, NC]
7 February 2008

True (?) story of a hit song

Barry Saunders, Staff Writer

John D. Loudermilk was ready to set the record straight, so he told me Wednesday that there never were four angry Cherokee Indians who pulled him from his car and pummeled and tortured him until he promised to write a song publicizing their pitiable plight.

It was a fascinating story, one that went out all over the world when the song "Indian Reservation" rose to No. 1 on the record charts and music chronicler Kasey Kasem told it on his syndicated radio show. [...]

Attempted Child Abduction at Sears

Howard County Times [MD]
7 February 2008

Police dispel rumor over attempted abduction at mall

Mike Santa Rita

Howard County police issued a public advisory Feb. 1 to dispel a rumor that had circulated through e-mail of an attempted child abduction at Sears in the Columbia mall on Jan. 29. [...]

[The innocent behavior of a Sears' employee who was greeting customers was misinterpreted by a mother, who later sent an e-mail to numerous people describing the attempted abduction of her child. She later admitted to police that some of the details in her e-mail were exaggerated, such as her claim that Sears' employees had chased the man as he fled the store.]

Muslim Women Plan Attack on Movie Theater

The News & Observer [Raleigh, NC]
7 February 2008

False rumor puts Triangle Muslims on edge

Lorenzo Perez, Staff Writer

RALEIGH - It apparently began with a Raleigh couple's decision to catch a matinee showing of the film "Atonement" last month.

It became an e-mail warning of a possible terrorist attack, forwarded among friends and friends of friends. Even after Raleigh police investigated and ruled out the tale of cloaked Muslim women mysteriously fanning out across a multiplex with briefcases and text-message phones, it continues to multiply. [...]

[The sighting of one woman "in Middle Eastern attire" enjoying a movie triggered a rumor that "cloaked" women had been seen behaving suspiciously in many of the theater's screening rooms. One foolish Raleigh resident forwarded the e-mail to a dozen friends because, she said, "It rang true....We just wanted to do our part to protect the community. It's important to keep your eyes open."]

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Rebel Against Authority" Day

WFMZ-TV [Allentown, PA]
6 February 2008

Police Probe Rumor of Threat Against Schools

69 News has learned that Bethlehem Police and city school district officials are investigating rumors of a threat against a school later this month. BPD Commissioner Randall Miller says the rumor of what's being called "Rebel Against Authority" day, possibly planned for February 29, have been ciculating for the past few weeks. [...],0,4116053.story

The Morning Call [Allentown, PA]
7 February 2008

Rumored threat may be pale hoax

Bethlehem officials unsure about whispers of school attack plan.

By Steve Esack
Of The Morning Call

[...] With so many rumors swirling that followers of the 229 Brigade are planning a ''Rebel Against Authority'' massacre Feb. 29 in the Bethlehem Area School District, police and school officials met Wednesday to formulate a security plan in the district of 24 schools and roughly 15,379 students. [...]

Blizzard Babies

Boston Globe
6 February 2008

The class of '78

30 years ago, epic blizzard produced babies and special memories

By Peter J. Howe
Globe Staff

As the 30th anniversary of the Blizzard of 1978 arrives today, Lauren Healy, Rachel Lockhart, Amy Christensen, twin brothers Marc and Jim Kelly, and a couple of thousand other Massachusetts natives can celebrate turning 29 1/4. Or thereabouts.

Count them as Blizzard Babies, a crop of people who can be eternally grateful that Mom and Dad got cooped up during the epic storm of Feb. 6 and 7, 1978, and saw their confinement bear fruit about 40 weeks later. [...]

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

INS Logo Scares Illegal Immigrants

5 February 2008

A Funny Story?

by PrMaine

A member of my family who (IMHO) listens to too much conservative hate-talk radio told me a story yesterday that I was supposed to accept as true and that I was supposed to think was very funny. It turned out that I seriously doubt that it is true and I found it funny in the sense of odd rather than hilarious. You can be the judge, but I suspect (since the writers are on strike) that the story was invented in some right-wing think tank and is being distributed over talk-radio and by word of mouth.

Let me tell the story before I go any further:

This guy happens to own some kind of generic uniform.

When he has some medical emergency that requires him to go to an emergency room, in a panic he takes the time to go to his computer and download a logo to paste on his uniform. When he gets to the emergency room the room magically clears out and they call him after only a brief wait.

The logo? Oh, it was an INS logo. [...]

[For legends about the power of the initials INS to frighten illegal immigrants, see .]

Monday, February 4, 2008

Depo Provera Contains HIV (Zambia Rumor)

Times of Zambia
28 January 2008

Injectable contraceptive Depo Provera safe, US embassy maintains

By Times Reporter

THE United States embassy has said Depo Provera, an injectable contraceptive is safe as it meets the safety regulatory standards. [...]

Times of Zambia
2 February 2008

Depo Provera does not contain HIV — Chituwo

By Times Reporter

HEALTH Minister, Brian Chituwo, has reassured the nation that scientific investigations into the injectable contraceptive, Depo Provera have not shown any traces of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. [...]

4 February 2008

ZAMBIA: Rumours of HIV in contraceptive spread panic

LUSAKA, 4 February 2008 (PlusNews) - A public health scare sparked by allegations that batches of the injectible contraceptive, Depro-Provera, contained the HI virus has exposed deep mistrust and high levels of misinformation about the safety of imported drugs. [...]

Salmon Won't Turn Pink in the Can

Sydney Morning Herald [Australia]
5 February 2008

Column 8

"Speaking of canned salmon, as we were on Friday, reminds me of a story at least 70 years old about the man who invented 'spin' and public relations," writes John Stubbs, of Rosebank. "Somebody in New York had imported vast amounts of canned salmon from Russia which proved to be unsaleable because, when opened, the fish was white rather than pink. His solution was to attach a sticker which read 'Guaranteed not to turn pink in the can'. I think his name was 'Red' Moran - but it was a long time ago."

Sydney Morning Herald
7 February 2008

Column 8

Michael Throssell, of Narrabeen, wishes to throw a lifeline to John Stubbs (Column 8, Tuesday). "John has it partly right: It was not 'Red' Moran but the advertising guru David Ogilvy, who helped the Canadian government sell Pacific salmon, caught and canned in Puget Sound (not Russia), by adding 'Guaranteed not to turn pink in the can' to the label. The story is in his 1960s bestseller, Confessions Of An Advertising Man."

Sydney Morning Herald
9 February 2008

Column 8

"I thank Mr Throssell of Narrabeen for his suggestion that advertising guru David Ogilvy invented 'guaranteed not to turn pink in the can' for white salmon," writes a grateful John Stubbs (Column 8, for some time). However, John contends that it dates from a 1944 comedy recording "before the late Mr Ogilvy began his stellar career."
Bennett Cerf, Try And Stop Me (1944), from Bennett Cerf's Bumper Crop (Garden City, NY: Garden City Books, n.d.), vol. 1, pp. 511-12.

Astute publicity men have extricated million-dollar enterprises from many a jam. One of the funniest of them involved a magnate who "got in on the ground floor" of a new salmon-canning project. The price of his stock was right, and the salmon was delicious. Unfortunately, the color of the salmon was pure white, instead of the customary pink. It tasted just as good as the best, but the public was used to pink salmon, and would have no truck with any other kind. The inventory reached alarming proportions, and bankruptcy loomed. Then the high-powered "public relations counsel" was called in. By printing just one line in big type on every can of salmon in stock, he cleaned out the inventory in exactly four months, and, if rival canneries had not secured an ultimate injunction, would undoubtedly have put most of them out of business. The line that he suggested was simple. It read: "This salmon is guaranteed not to turn pink in the can."

UK Government Acts Over Holocaust Studies Rumor

BBC News [UK]
4 February 2008

UK government acts on hoax e-mail

The UK government is taking the unprecedented step of writing to every embassy to stop a false e-mail rumour about Holocaust teaching being banned. [...]

4 February 2008

Government acts over Holocaust e-mail

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain took the unusual step on Monday of denouncing a hoax e-mail claiming that the government has scrapped teaching of the Holocaust in schools because it might offend Muslims. [...]

Times of London [UK]
9 February 2008

How internet turned `fact' into a global lie

Alexandra Frean, Education Editor

A bogus but persistent rumour that British schools are dropping the Holocaust from the curriculum to avoid offending Muslims forced the Government to issue an official denial this week.

The rumours appear to stem from an article I wrote in The Times on April 2 last year which amounted to only 164 words. [...]

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Six Degrees of Separation

Discover Magazine
28 January 2008

If Osama's Only 6 Degrees Away, Why Can't We Find Him?

The famous 6 degrees of separation theory fades under scrutiny.

by Elizabeth DeVita-Raebu

It's rare for a sociological study to wind up a part of pop culture, but that's what has happened to Stanley Milgram's "small world" study, which posits that all of the people on the planet are connected to one another through an average of six acquaintances-or through six degrees of separation. [...]

Film About Tunnels Under Victoria, BC

Times Colonist [Victoria, BC, Canada]
3 February 2008

Movie delves under the city

Rob Shaw, Times Colonist

John McFetrick wanted his first documentary film [Under the Garden City] to explore one of Victoria's most popular urban legends: Are there really tunnels hidden beneath the city? [...]

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Yogi Walks on Water

Indian Express
2 February 2008

Russy Karanjia, India's tabloid guru, dies at 95

Mumbai, February 1 India’s original tabloid guru, veteran journalist Russy Karanjia died at his Mumbai residence on Friday. He was 95.

Founder of Blitz, which captured popular imagination with its screaming headlines and campaigns, Karanjia faced bans and endless court cases but continuously courted controversy. [...]

V Gangadhar, who was a columnist with Blitz for several years, [...] recounted an anecdote. “He strongly believed in Yoga. When a yogi walked into his office and claimed that he could walk on water, Russy without fearing about the goodwill of the paper encouraged the yogi and put up a banner of Blitz at the event. After two steps on the water, the yogi sank. That is Karanjia for you. He was not worried about reputation, he laughed out loud with those present at the event. But one thing was clear — this man had the guts to try something new.”
[Still, two steps is pretty damn good. -- bc]

Friday, February 1, 2008

Yale University Tour Guide Legends

Yale Daily News [CT]
1 February 2008

To woo students, tour guides blur fact-fiction line

Caroline Berson
Staff Reporter

[Tour guides at Yale University often retail dubious legends about the university and its campus. One guide admits that "a big part of his job is to excite people about Yale lore, regardless of whether or not his anecdotes are based on hard facts." Various tour guide legends are mentioned.]

Cutts Mansion Tunnel, Portsmouth, NH

Portsmouth Herald News [NH]
1 February 2008

Dodds trial: Secret tunnel a 'stupid myth'

By Adam Leech

PORTSMOUTH - Could Gary Dodds have crawled through a secret underground tunnel, get into the Cutts Mansion undetected and hide out while police searched for him, all in an elaborate scheme to gain momentum for his fledgling congressional campaign? [...]

Foster's Daily Democrat [NH]
1 February 2008

Did mystery tunnel play a role in Gary Dodds disappearance?


PORTSMOUTH — Could a mystery tunnel under a 200-year-old mansion in the Port City have played a role in the disappearance of one-time congressional candidate Gary Dodds? [...]

Foster's Daily Democrat [NH]
2 February 2008

Sisters say there were three tunnels under Cutts Mansion


PORTSMOUTH — Despite a former property owner of the Cutts Mansion this week dismissing its likelihood, three women who resided at the Maplewood Avenue property when children insist that an underground tunnel leading from the mansion does or did exist, saying they knew of not just one, but three separate such passageways. [...]

Portsmouth Herald News [NH]
5 February 2008

Cutts Mansion tunnels no myth, say sisters raised there

Kids knew mansion secrets

By Adam Leech

PORTSMOUTH — Tunnel or no tunnel?

Sharon Jones-Jenkins and Karen Jones-Davis, former residents of the Cutts Mansion, are disputing the report of another former owner that there was no underground tunnel to Cutts Cove. Not only was there a tunnel to Cutts Cove, there were two other tunnels, secret hiding places and rooms behind bookshelves. [...]

[The first article mentions speculation that the supposed tunnel -- seemingly like every other tunnel, root cellar, and hole in the ground in the eastern half of the U.S. -- was part of the Underground Railroad.]

Super Bowl & Domestic Violence

Daily News Tribune [Waltham, MA]
1 February 2008

Super Bowl domestic violence surge a myth?

By Greg Smith
GateHouse News Service

Alcohol may increase the likelihood of domestic violence in an at-risk home, but there is no reason to believe more women are abused on Super Bowl Sunday, experts say. [...]

Old Man Ponders Shoes on Power Lines

KTRE-TV [Lufkin/Nacogdoches, TX]
31 January 2008

Shoes On Wires

by Donna McCollum

Sneakers swinging from power lines are so common that we rarely notice they're there. "On the wire?," asked an elderly man who works near a pair of hanging shoes. That's right. They've been there for months. Still not quite aware, he asked, "Up against the pole, over there?" When Mr. A.j. Miller got his closer look, he was asked why he thought they were there. His only reply, "That's a hard question to answer." [...]

San Diego's Shoe Tree Topples

San Diego Union-Tribune [CA]
9 January 2008

'Shoe tree' toppled
Winds, weight of soggy namesakes do it in

By Tony Manolatos
BALBOA PARK - It was called the shoe tree, and it was one of San Diego's strangest landmarks.

Hundreds of pairs of shoes - sneakers, high heels, Rollerblades, you name it - hung from its branches. For some reason, people tossed their shoes onto the massive tree, which graced hole No. 2 at Morley Field Disc Golf Course for about three decades. [...]

[Article features an impressive photo of the shoe-covered tree.]

Dumb Answers to Quiz Show Questions

31 January 2008

Oddly Enough

The dumbest ever quiz answers

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - Question: What was Gandhi's first name? Contestant's answer: Goosey Goosey.

Warning to all those know-alls who shout at the television screen when contestants offer dumb answers to blindingly obvious questions -- one day that could be you. [...]

The Daily Mail [UK]
24 November 2009

Hitler's first name was Heil: The most appallingly ignorant but hilarious quiz show answers

The grotesquely wrong answers that some contestants give on quiz programmes would surely make most participants think twice before applying. Here are a selection of the funniest answers taken from a new book [Private Eye's Dumb Britain 2]. [...]