Saturday, May 31, 2008

How to Find a Husband in Nebraska

Wayland D. Hand, "A Miscellany of Nebraska Folk Beliefs." Western Folklore, vol. 21, no. 4 (Oct., 1962), p. 263.

When a girl washes her panties at night, she should leave the doors and windows open. A man will come in at midnight to turn the panties over so the other side will dry. This man is the one the girl will marry. Omaha, 1940's.

Newborn Baby Talks

KanglaOnline [India]
1 June 2008

Curious crowds flock to see wonder child at Bishnupur

Newmai News Network

Imphal, May 30: This is not Ripley`s believe it or not story. But this is the hottest topic of gossipers in and around Moirang locality in Bishnupur district of Manipur. According to the local people there, a 42-day old infant talks to his blind mother during night time assuring his blind parents that he would make them see after he attained three months! [...]

Friday, May 30, 2008

Celebrities at War

Appleton Post-Crescent [WI]
30 May 2008

Supv. Herner offers apology for e-mail hoax

APPLETON -- Supv. Dianne Herner sent out more than 40 letters Thursday apologizing for perpetuating a fictitious tale about celebrities who fought in famous American battles.

At the beginning of Tuesday's Outagamie County Board meeting, Herner commemorated Memorial Day by reciting a story about unsung heroes she had received in an e-mail.

The legend claimed actor Lee Marvin and television personalities Bob Keeshan and Fred Rogers -- better known as Captain Kangaroo and Mister Rogers -- fought bravely at Iwo Jima, one of World War II's most storied battles, and in Vietnam, respectively. [...]

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Parking Garage Attack, Kansas City

KMBC-TV [Kansas City, MO]
28 May 2008

Police: Power & Light Attack E-Mail Is Hoax
E-Mail Claims Person Was Beaten In Parking Garage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police said an e-mail circulating about an assault at the Power & Light District is not true.

The e-mail, which several viewers forwarded to KMBC, advises the reader to take a cab to downtown rather than drive because someone's cousin was attacked in a parking garage by eight "guys with lead pipes" and that they were robbed and "beaten nearly to death."

The e-mail says the guys all had a "gold pinky fingernail" and that they are possibly in a gang.

The e-mail also claims that the person's friend is missing and is presumed dead.

Police said there was no such report made and that the story was unfounded. [...]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Parson and the Raven

E.G. Walsh, ed., The Poacher's Companion (Woodbridge, UK: The Boydell Press, 1983), p. 37.

This puts me in mind of a story told me of a raven. The bird was tame and pinioned, and had strayed from his owner's house into the orchard of the village curate. A lot of rooks having visited the parson's cherries, the reverend gentleman kept his gun in readiness, and seeing the raven under his trees, he stalked him by the aid of a hedge. Bang went the fruit-avenging gun, and the raven, having felt a shot or two rattle on his feathers, began to hop and flap along the ground as fast as he could. Up ran the parson, thinking to secure an offender, to be impaled as a future scarecrow, when just as he was about to grasp the raven, the bird opened his mouth to bite, and cried, 'D--n your blood!' So startled was the divine that he threw down his gun, and ran away. -- The Hon George Grantley Berkeley, Reminiscences of a Huntsman (London, 1854).

Monday, May 26, 2008

For Sex, See Librarian

Wisconsin State Journal [Madison]
18 April 1971, Section 5, p. 1.

Main Streets and Side Roads

By Steven E. Hopkins
Of The State Journal Staff

Passing the Buck

The Chicago Tribune reports that readers looking for books in one Chicago library's card catalog dealing with sex will find a card that reads as follows: "Sex, See librarian." -- George Pauslon, Reedsburg Times-Press.

Star-News [Pasadena, CA]
2 August 1972, p. C-1.

More or Less Personal

by Ray McConnell

THE GENTLE APPROACH: In The Grapevine, publication of the Pasadena Public Library Staff Association, Margaret Meyer reports that the subject heading in the catalog of a library (not here) read: "SEX, see librarian." When this caused comment, it was changed to read: "SEX, for SEX ask at desk." [...]

L. B. Woods, "For Sex: See Librarian." Library Journal, vol. 103, issue 15 (1 Sept. 1978), p. 1561.

The title of this article was found on a catalog card entry in a library in Washington. It indicates the lengths to which some librarians will go to increase circulation; or couched in educational lingo, to what lengths they will go to make the library relevant to the needs of a changing society.

If you are of the "old school," you might interpret the entry correctly to mean that access to materials dealing with sex is restricted. [...]

Martha Cornog and Timothy Perper, "For Sex, See Librarian: An Introduction." In Martha Cornog, ed., Libraries, Erotica, and Pornography (Phoenix, AZ: The Oryx Press, 1991), p. 5.

In another cartoon, published in Playboy, a voluptuous young woman behind the circulation desk is approached by an eager young man who ventures, "Under 'Sex,' the card catalog says, 'See Librarian' " (Doug Sneyd, October, 1982, p. 105).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Vietnam Vets Spat On By Civilians

[In the week leading up to Memorial Day there have been many articles that tell of Vietnam vets being spat on by civilians.]

WISH-TV [Indianapolis, IN]
17 May 2008

Local Vietnam veterans get a proper welcome home ceremony

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Hundreds of Vietnam veterans got a proper welcome home ceremony Saturday. It was the first ceremony in the city recognizing the vets for their service. Many Vietnam veterans said a homecoming party is 40 years overdue, but they are happy that they are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

All over the country when soldiers are returning from the war they are welcomed by friends and family who are often holding welcome signs and holding back tears. The Patriot Guard Riders are a familiar sight making sure no one disrupts the sweet reunion. But those that they welcomed home Saturday weren't welcomed home 40 years ago.

"I felt like I landed in the wrong country. I landed in Fort Dix, New Jersey. People were spitting at me, protesting, calling me a baby killer," said Gary Hines, Vietnam Veteran, U.S. Army. [...]

Midland Reporter-Telegram [Texas]
17 May 2008

Veterans find healing in cross-country motorcycle ride

By Kathleen Thurber
Staff Writer

ODESSA -- When Chuck Bellew veered off Interstate 20 Friday evening he nearly hit the motorcycle in front of him he was so overwhelmed.

After getting spit on when he walked around in uniform during the Vietnam-era, the site of roadways lined with flags and citizens waving and saying thank you is something he said he'll never get used to.

"It's an emotional roller coaster and it's definitely a healing process," said Bellew, who rode in from Phoenix with his friend of more than 40 years and fellow veteran Ike Ikerd.

The two are part of the 20th annual Run for the Wall and have joined more than 300 others who will be driving through the southern part of the U.S. before meeting another 400 or more bikers in Arlington, Va.

Together, the group will ride to "the wall" or the portion of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington with names of soldiers who died in the war. [...]

Portsmouth Herald News [NH]
18 May 2008

Vietnam veteran helps others suffering post-traumatic stress
Veteran reaches out so others' suffering isn't done in silence

By Deborah McDermott

ELIOT, Maine - For more than 30 years, Don Lonsway thought he was crazy.

He'd be driving, for instance, when without warning he'd have a panic attack, start sweating profusely, and feel his heart race. Mornings, he'd wake up from a nightmare-filled sleep to sheets like a "rat's nest" and soaked through. He'd go home many nights with a half-gallon of cheap whiskey and drink it until he passed out.

Vietnam War veteran Don Lonsway will speak about his experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, at Eliot United Methodist Church, Route 236. [...]

His homecoming - after 366 days, he says quickly, even today recalling the precise number - seemed practically scripted from the era.

"I was at O'Hare Field in Chicago and I had a three-hour layover. I was in dress uniform. I remembered the pictures of soldiers in World War I and World War II, how warmly they were greeted, and I couldn't wait to go home.

"Then I saw some college students. They called me 'baby killer' and one of them spit on my uniform. I took a deep breath and went into the men's room and bawled my eyes out and stayed there till I got on my flight. When I got to Logan, I immediately bought a shirt and a pair of pants in the airport and balled up my uniform." [...]

Indianapolis Star [IN]
18 May 2008

Veterans' welcome was long time coming

By Cordell Eddings

Charles Hahn was one of the Vietnam War soldiers who returned home to war protests and criticism.

"They warned us, but I just turned 21. I don't think any of us were ready for that," said Hahn, 61, Nineveh.

For many veterans, there were no welcome-home parades or other celebrations. Hahn, instead, remembers getting off a plane in Chicago after spending two years in Vietnam and being spat upon by a woman protesting the unpopular war.

On Saturday, organizers of Indianapolis' first Welcome Home celebration for Vietnam War veterans hoped it wasn't too late to make amends.

Hahn was one of hundreds of Vietnam War veterans, their family members and other supporters who filled the auditorium of the Indiana War Memorial for the welcoming celebration -- a recognition that many veterans felt was long overdue. [...]

Gaston Gazette [NC]
24 May 2008

Memories of war lost on all but the Marine who lived them

Michael Barrett

LINCOLNTON - Lance Cpl. Robert Hull has no military uniform to represent the two years he fought in the Vietnam War. But he remembers bullets tearing through the uniforms of friends on the battlefield. [...]

Like so many Vietnam veterans, Hull was given anything but a heroic welcome home 39 years ago.

"People are calling you child murderers, spitting in your face and all that," he said. "People back then didn't want you. And then, all of a sudden, your government turns against you." [...]

WSBT-TV [South Bend, IN]
24 May 2008

Flags From the Heart on Display in Elkhart

by Tristan Henry

"I guess I'm just as patriotic as the next guy." Brian Thomas is showing his patriotism by helping others honor their loved ones. He created the Flags From the Heart project.

It's a display of admiration that now sits near the Civic Plaza in downtown Elkhart.

Bill Addison served in World War II and received a much different welcome home than his son who served in Vietnam.

"When he came home they spit on his uniform, civilians did," said Addison. [...]

Daily Record [NJ]
26 May 2008

Cedar Knolls ex-Marine not yet done with battles

By Michael Daigle

[...] [Henry] Broxmeier, of Cedar Knolls, is one of the U.S. service veterans who will be honored by Morris County on Friday during the county's annual Memorial Day ceremony. [...]

The war for Broxmeier is a collage of events and sounds and sights: [...] Walking down the aisle of the plane carrying him from California to the East Coast after the end of his time in Vietnam and being spit on by another passenger. [...]

American-Statesman [Austin, Texas]
26 May 2008

Hundreds of flags for veterans at Southwest Austin cemetery

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8925 has been planting flags at graves since the 1960s.

By Patrick George

[...] Roger Gaby, 70, remembers getting spat on in California after doing two tours in Vietnam and suffering shrapnel wounds there. [...],4_1_JO27_MEMORIAL_S1.article

Herald News [Joliet, IL]
27 May 2008

Cemetery ceremony honors military vets


[...] Ronald Juvingo, of Oswego, still has bitter feelings on how he was treated when he returned home after serving four years with the U.S. Air Force during Vietnam War.

He was spit on and called a "baby killer." The Vietnam soldiers would strap explosives onto small children who would then walk up to U.S. soldiers, killing them and themselves. Juvingo said if soldiers didn't shoot the child they would all be dead, and that's how the term "baby killer" originated. [...]

Cancer Village, Vietnam

Thanh Nien Daily [Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam]
25 May 2008

Cancer rumor hurts village

The people of Phong Nam Village, 10 kilometers from downtown Da Nang, are just trying to get by.

But now every time they leave the village, they are subject to the jeers of those from neighboring communes who have heard the rumor: “everyone in Phong Nam has cancer.” [...]

“Cancer villages” have become an increasingly common phenomenon in both Vietnam and China, where industrial waste often enters local villages.

But some “cancer village” stories have been fabricated or exaggerated by the Vietnamese media.

Source: SGGP

Girl Drowned in School Pool,lowpool.article

Post-Tribune [Merrillville, IN]
25 May 2008

What lies beneath the Lowell school?

Post-Tribune staff writer

LOWELL -- For decades, mystery has shrouded "the pool."

Rumors have swirled into urban legends since the old Lowell High School, with the year 1914 chiseled into its concrete frontispiece, was built atop a hill on Oakley Avenue.

Underneath the hill, they say, a swimming pool was constructed below the school building, now Lowell Middle School. [...]

[On a tour of the empty pool, eighth-grader Kelsey Lukasik said, "I heard a girl went down here and drowned and they forgot to take her body out of the pool and they put cement over the pool and closed it forever."]

Friday, May 23, 2008

Date Rape Drug Rumor, Janesville, Wisconsin

The Janesville Gazette [WI]
23 May 2008

Police say date rape drug e-mail not true


JANESVILLE -- Janesville police say there's no truth to an e-mail circulating that five people tested positive for a date rape drug after drinking at a downtown Janesville bar last weekend.

Police received no complaints from any victims or calls from the Mercy Hospital emergency department, Deputy Chief David Moore said. [...]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bridge Builder Entombed in Concrete

WBRZ-TV [Baton Rouge, Louisiana]
22 May 2008

[News clip about a rumor that in 1938 Jasper Conrad Brown, one of nine workers who died while building the Old Mississippi River Bridge, fell into freshly poured concrete and was entombed in the bridge. "One of the parents went to see a fortune teller after the accident, years after the accident. The fortune teller said, 'Your son was entombed in one of the piers;' in fact, specifically said pier number three."]

Wife Gets New Wheelbarrow

Dear Abby [syndicated advice column]
22 May 2008

DEAR ABBY: My wife had a wheelbarrow with a steel wheel that had a tendency to sink into the ground when she was pushing a heavy load, making it difficult for her.

I recently won a large sum of money in a lottery, and to show my love and appreciation, I bought her a wheelbarrow with an inflatable rubber tire so it would be easier for her to push a heavy load. My wife has not talked to me since. What did I do wrong? -- BIG WINNER IN THE USA [...]

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Harper's Magazine, June 2008, pp. 60-5.

A Mind Dismembered
In search of the magical penis thieves

By Frank Bures

[This excerpt is from pp. 64-5.]

Starrys Obazi sat across the table from me at Mr. Bigg's, a cheap fast-food place on the north side of Lagos where we had agreed to meet. Around us, other Nigerians walked past with their trays and sat down to eat their burgers and watch rap videos on the television behind us. Starrys dug into his chicken. A wiry little man with a nasal voice, he had been an editor for fourteen years at FAME, a Nigerian celebrity tabloid, until the publisher mysteriously stopped paying him. Jobs, even low-paying editorial jobs, were tough to come by in Lagos, and it had been several years since Starrys had held one.

Here, in the flesh, finally, was a man whose penis had been stolen. It happened one day in 1990, when Starrys was a reporter at the Evening Times. While he was waiting for a bus to take him to work, a man approached him and held out a piece of paper with a street name on it.

"Do you know where this is?" the man asked, without saying the name. Starrys did not know the street, and he thought this was strange. He didn't believe the street existed. Then another man behind Starrys, without seeing the paper, said where the street was. This was even stranger.

The two men walked away, and Starrys started to feel something he had never felt before.

"At that moment," Starrys told me, leaning forward, "I felt something depart my body. I began to feel empty inside. I put my hand into my pants, and touched my thing. It was unusually small -- smaller than the normal size. And the scrotum was flat. I put my fingers into the sockets; and they were not there. The testes were gone. And I was just feeling empty!" His voice strained as he recalled the panic of that day.

Starrys ran after the men and confronted them. "Something happened to my penis!" he told the man who had asked for directions. The man said he had no idea what Starrys was talking about.

"Something told me inside not to shout," he said. "Because as soon as I shouted, he would have been lynched. And if he was lynched, how could I get my penis back?"

I watched as Starrys finished his chicken and wiped his hands. "It was one quarter of its normal size," he said emphatically, as if, even now, even he could not believe it had happened. But Starrys, a journalist and a worldly man, did believe it. And as I listened to him tell his story, I almost believed it, too. I could feel the intensity, the fear. It made a kind of sense, even if it didn't make sense at all. I could start to see the world that his fear came from. I could see what it was built on, and for a few minutes I could imagine standing there with Starrys on a street comer, alone in the world, helpless and missing my most cherished possession. I let go of my doubts and gave in to the panic in Starrys's voice, and it was real, utterly. And I was afraid. This was how koro could be caught.

Starrys continued with his story. Despite the men's denials, one of them agreed to accompany Starrys to a nearby hospital to document the theft. But just as they arrived at the hospital, the man grabbed Starrys and bellowed, "LET'S GO IIIIN!" And at that moment something happened.

"When he grabbed me," Starrys said, "I felt calm again. I felt an inner calm. I checked my testes, and they were there." He checked his penis as well, and the missing three quarters had returned. The doctor examined Starrys and pronounced him fine. On hearing Starrvs's story, though, the doctor admonished the penis thief to quit causing trouble on the street.

Diaper-Clad, Worm-Infested Rapist,,372_2326229E,00.html

Vaal Weekly [South Africa]
21 May 2008

Forced to 'lick his worms'

By Lazarus Dithagiso

VANDERBIJLPARK. - Women fear for their lives as rumours of a Hummer-driving pervert sexually exploiting female pedestrians are spreading like wildfire.

The man is estimated to be in his fifties and he targets women aged anywhere between 18 and 35 years of age. His modus operandi is that he allegedly lures female pedestrians with his expensive vehicle and showers them with expensive gifts before taking them to a luxurious hotel, which he also claims to be the owner of.

At the hotel, the assailant apparently threatens his victims with a firearm and forces them to have oral sex with him. The man is also reported to be wearing disposable nappies.

After the man exposes himself, it is said that a foul smell surfaces from his private parts and his victims are reluctant to do as they are told, because the man allegedly has a pile of worms infesting his pubic area.

It is said that the man pays the women undisclosed amounts of money after the ordeal and tells them that they must use the money for their funerals.

SAPS spokesperson, Constable Mandlakanyise [*] Zwane, claims, however, that accounts of the perverted nappy-wearing playboy cannot be proven yet and general suspicions are that it is nothing but an old-wives' tale. "We would like to encourage community members, should they witness any unlawful activities resembling these reports, to come forward and report it," he concludes.

* In past news reports that have mentioned the police spokesman, his first name is spelled Mandlakayise. -- bc

A Roach, But No Rats

The Royal Gazette [Hamilton, Bermuda]
21 May 2008

Chopsticks takes legal action over rat hoax

A furious shareholder at Chopsticks restaurant is taking legal action against a customer who sent a hoax e-mail claiming the venue's dishes contain rats.

John Roach said business has taken a nosedive after thousands of people saw the message that the rodents were being fried and served up instead of chicken. [...]

The e-mail claimed a butcher was caught red-handed chopping up rats in the Reid Street eaterie's basement when service workers called following reports of a nearby gas leak.

It contained pictures of rats being washed outside, cut up into pieces, deep fried and seasoned before being placed on a plate. [...]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oral Sex Survey

Washington Post
20 May 2008

A Debunking on Teenagers and 'Technical Virginity'

Researchers Find That Oral Sex Isn't Commonplace Among Young People Who Avoid Intercourse

By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 20, 2008; Page A02

Contrary to widespread belief, teenagers do not appear to commonly engage in oral sex as a way to preserve their virginity, according to the first study to examine the question nationally. [...]

Olympic Mascots Linked to Tragedies

South China Morning Post [Hong Kong]
16 May 2008

Online doomsayers say signs point to worse to come

Martin Zhou

Cyberspace gossip mills have being grinding away to produce a stream of superstition-related stories, reflecting growing public unease over a turbulent five-month spell marked by natural and human disasters.

The latest explanation for several recent tragedies links them to the five Beijing Olympic mascots.

Referring to four of the five Fuwa, a viral message widely circulated over the past few days says "antelopes [Yingying] pointed to the Tibetan riots in March; the kite [Nini] indicated the Shandong railway crash; the flame [Huanhuan] foretold the troubled torch relay; as for the giant panda [Jingjing], what does it conjure up in your mind except Sichuan?" [...]

19 June 2008

"Curse of the Fuwa" fulfilled by floods

By Lucy Hornby and Alfred Cang

BEIJING (Reuters) - Floods sweeping southern China seem to have fulfilled the final stanza of an Internet curse involving Beijing's Olympic mascots, but censors have been quick to remove postings that might fuel the superstition. [...]

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some Californian Children's Beliefs, Early 20th Century

Helen Papashvily, "The World in a California Street: Stockton, 1911-1920." Western Folklore, vol. 10, No. 2 (April 1951), p. 117.

ALL THE children in our street knew the following:


Penny licorice strips have old black rubber boots melted into them.

Jelly beans are made of all the drippings and pieces scraped up at night from the floors of candy factories.


The deadliest insult that can be offered to a Chinese is to say "Chick (or chuck) a muck a hilo" to him. If a Chinese hears you he will kill you immediately. (No meaning or translation ever formulated for the phrase.)

Chinese carry their money (coins) in their ears. Hence an extra prohibition against ever putting coins in one's mouth.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Radiation Wave Warning

Borneo Bulletin [Brunei]
17 May 2008

Police warn SMS panic mongers

By Azaraimy HH

[...] Following a recent false alarm through mass SMS, ASP Mohd Shari bin Hj Ahmad, Assistant Public Relations Police Unit of the Royal Brunei Police Force, urged the public not to take heed of any hoax aimed at frightening people.

The false message that was rallied through the SMS stated, "As a precaution, all hand phones tonight must be switched-off, according to Metro TV. On 11 pm tonight, there will be a large radiation wave that is dangerous to human beings, which will be captured by all handphones and all transmitting devices. Tell all your friends not to place hand phones on your head. Please forward." [...]

The Star [Malaysia]
19 May 2008

SMS on radiation wave a hoax

PETALING JAYA: Two telcos have dismissed the text message, which went around on Saturday telling people to turn off their mobile phones before 11pm, as a hoax.

A source from DiGi and a Maxis spokesman said Sunday that the message was either a prank or misconstrued information.

The text message read: "Please switch OFF all ur handphones 2NITE. According to Metro TV, there will be a BIG RADIATION WAVE circulating thru the handphone towers at 11PM 2nite which is very DANGEROUS to humans. Pls inform ur friends NOT 2 keep their phones with them. Please FORWARD. Rgds." [...]

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Student Puts Eye Drops in Teacher's Drink

The Town Talk [Alexandria, LA]
15 May 2008

Student accused of poisoning teacher

By Abbey Brown and Mandy M. Goodnight

A Clayton teen has been arrested and charged with poisoning his teacher earlier this month, authorities said Wednesday.

The 16-year-old was charged Tuesday afternoon with simple battery mingling substances after he was alleged to have put about three-fourths of a bottle of eye drops into a Concordia Education Center teacher's soft drink on May 5, an official reported. [...]

Cannon Buried Under Dartmouth College Field

Times Argus [Vermont]
15 May 2008

Investigation: Vermont cannon is not beneath Dartmouth field

By Alan J. Keays
Rutland Herald

Police in Hanover, N.H., say a World War I cannon missing for decades from the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington is not under a football field at Dartmouth College. [...]

Since at least December police in Hanover, N.H., have been investigating the cannon mystery, set off when they learned of a man who gave a so-called deathbed confession about a cannon he said he stole from the veterans home in the 1960s and then buried under the field at Dartmouth. [...]

Bennington Banner [VT]
16 May 2008

Missing Bennington cannon case apparently 'solved'

NEAL P. GOSWAMI, Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- The case of the missing cannon has been solved -- for some. [...]

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cow Mutilation, Saskatchewan

Regina Leader-Post [Sask.]
14 May 2008

Cow found mutilated in Saskatchewan

Pregnant cow found with missing parts in Stockholm area

Jana G. Pruden, The Leader-Post

REGINA -- A macabre mystery that pops up around the world has surfaced once again on a secluded Saskatchewan farm.

The most recent case of cattle mutilation occurred in the Stockholm area, just yards away from where Heather Harris and her husband slept. [...]

The pregnant cow was missing its rectum, female organs, udder, navel, top and bottom lips, one ear and one eye. The animal's tongue appeared to be cut out.

Harris said there was no sign of blood in the area, and all of the injuries appear to be precise incisions. Harris said there were no signs of struggle in the area, and no tire tracks, footprints or blood anywhere around the animal.

The gruesome scenario appears to be a classic case of "cow mutilation," a bizarre occurrence attributed variously to natural predators, aliens, government operatives, cults and a variety of other elusive sources. [...]

Plans for Strathspey Hotel Misread

Strathspey & Badenoch Herald [UK]
14 May 2008

Traffic lights leave locals scratching their heads

THE people of Grantown are to be found these days huddling in corners talking in whispers from the corners of their mouths.

The talk of the town lavvies is about the new and less than impressive traffic lights in The Square.

Rumours are rife that the current curious situation came about because the original measurements were taken from the wrong point and thus we have the strange protruding pavements of the current model.

This harks back to another rumour which suggests that Aviemore's tower block Strathspey Hotel was only passed through planning 40 years ago because the committee were looking at the plans the wrong way round and thought it was a long, low building. [...]

Rumor of Impending Earthquake, Philippines

Philippine Information Agency
14 May 2008

Text rumors of an earthquake to hit RP tonight is a hoax, Phivolcs says

Cebu City (14 May) -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in a press statement debunked text rumors of an impending earthquake that will hit the country tonight purportedly issued by the "Hawaii State Emergency Preparedness Office." [...]

Boy Steals Dad's Credit Card to Buy Hookers
9 May 2008

13 Year Old Steals Dad's Credit Card to Buy Hookers

A 13 year old boy from Texas is convicted of fraud after using his Father's credit cards to hire escorts.

A 13 year old from Texas who stole his Dad's credit card and ordered two hookers from an escort agency, has today been convicted of fraud and given a three year community order.

Ralph Hardy, a 13 year old from Newark, Texas confessed to ordering an extra credit card from his father's existing credit card company, and took his friends on a $30,000 spending spree, culminating in playing "Halo" on an Xbox with a couple of hookers in a Texas motel. [...]

Asked why he ordered two escorts, Ralph said he thought it was the thing to do when you win a "World of Warcraft" tournament. They told the suspicious working girls they were people of restricted growth working with a traveling circus, and as State law does not allow those with disabilities to be discriminated against they had no right to refuse them.

The $1,000 a night girls sensing something up played "Halo" on the Xbox with the kids, instead of selling their sexual services.

Ralph's ambition is to one day become a politician.
13 May 2008

Boy spent $30,000 on hookers with dad's credit card?
Story claims 13-year-old stole from father to play Xbox with call girls

By Chelsea Schilling

[...] The British report is just a silly online rumor, Newark police told WND.

Spokeswoman Amy Cromer laughed and said, "As far as we know, this story is a hoax. There have not been any arrests here, and we're not aware of any convictions like that in this county."

Cromer said word gets around in a town with a population of only 1,100 people. The rumor is spreading so quickly that she said the county decided to feature the story on its blog. [...]

When WND investigated the story, authorities cheerfully dispelled the rumor.

"We don't have hookers here," [!] Cromer said. "I guess he went to Dallas for that."
The bogus news item, created by Lyndon Antcliff, is an example of "linkbaiting." See


Linkbait at any Cost?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Earthquake Rumors, China

The Times [London, UK]
13 May 2008

China bloggers cook up quake conspiracies

Hannah Fletcher

As the death toll in China's Sichuan province climbs, the nation's bloggers have joined together in the search for a scapegoat.

Broadband connections across the country are pulsing with rumours of "earthquake omens" involving toads or butterflies - all allegedly ignored by the authorities. Some even talk of a vast pre-Olympic conspiracy. [...]

Other bloggers seized upon an as yet unsubstantiated rumour that a Chinese geologist had predicted the earthquake in advance but had been stifled by the authorities, and by fear. [...]

Epoch Times [NY]
13 May 2008

Earthquake Predicted but Quashed as Rumour

By Sun Mingguo and Shar Adams
Epoch Times staff

More than 10 days before the disastrous earthquake that hit China on May 12, residents in Abazhou of Sichuan had already been discussing that an earthquake might strike. Some called the local Earthquake Prevention and Disaster Relief Board to confirm the news, but the bureau claimed that it was merely a rumour. [...]

The Associated Press
15 May 2008

Chinese wonder if animals can predict earthquakes


BEIJING (AP) -- First, the water level in a pond inexplicably plunged. Then, thousands of toads appeared on streets in a nearby province. Finally, just hours before China's worst earthquake in three decades, animals at a local zoo began acting strangely.

As bodies are pulled from the wreckage of Monday's quake, Chinese online chat rooms and blogs are buzzing with a question: Why didn't these natural signs alert the government that a disaster was coming? [...]

China Daily
13 May 2008

Quake 'predicted' 5 years ago

By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)

[...] Meanwhile, ahead of Monday's deadly earthquake, many people reported seeing unusual animal behavior.

On Saturday, local media reported that hundreds of thousands of toads had appeared on the streets of Manzhu, a city about 60 km southeast of Wenchuan.

A resident surnamed Liu was quoted as saying he saw countless toads killed by passing vehicles as they crossed roads, and that he had never seen anything like it.

Similarly, on Friday, people in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, also said they saw tens of thousands of toads on the city's streets, local media said.

Experts have said animals can give advance notice of quakes, as they sense tremors before they happen.

Unfortunately, no one heeded the toads' "warning".

In response to questions from the public about the reptilian swarms, officials in both Mianzhu and Taizhou said there was nothing unusual about them.

"The move is because of the change of weather," Shu Shi, director of the Mianzhu forestry bureau, was quoted as saying by local media.

China Daily
15 May 2008

Migrating toads might not be linked with earthquake

BEIJING -- Animals' abnormal activities might not be reliable evidence for a coming earthquake, a Chinese seismologist told a Xinhua reporter in an exclusive interview on Thursday. [...]

China Daily
16 May 2008

Scientists dismiss claims animals, clouds provided quake warning

By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)

Neither the migration of toads nor unusual cloud formations were clear indicators of an impending earthquake, the country's seismological authority said on Thursday. [...]

New York Times
16 May 2008

Superstitions About Quake Meet the Web, Irritating the Chinese Authorities


CHENGDU, China -- Can earthquakes be predicted, their destructive impact forewarned?

Most scientists would say no. But if some insistent Chinese bloggers are to be believed, nature provided enough warning to have saved many of those who perished Monday. [...],0,7458665.story

Los Angeles Times
18 May 2008

China cracks down on earthquake rumors

Hearsay has vexed Chinese leaders throughout history. The disaster has set off a new round.

By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

BEIJING -- Almost as soon as the initial aftershocks stopped reverberating last week, the rumors began. Some say that frogs, insects and other animals fled shortly before the earth shook. Others insist that water mysteriously drained from ponds, or that Beijing knew the massive earthquake would strike but chose not to publicize it with the Olympics around the corner. [...]

[This article also mentions various rumors told by Tibetans.]

Fatal Perfume Samples

Malay Mail [Malaysia]
13 May 2008


Hoax e-mail causes panic

AN e-mail circulating like wildfire in cyberspace, purportedly from Gleneagles Hospital in Ampang, has panicked FOO of Bukit Antarabangsa.

The businessman from Taman Bukit Utama wondered if the e-mail, which states: ‘News from Ampang Gleneagles Hospital. Important news to pass it on’, authored by one Mei Ling of Gleneagles Hospital Limited’s Human Resource Department is true.

The 48-year-old FOO says that the e-mail had the headline: ‘News from Gleneagles Hospital (Ampang) URGENT!!!!! from Gleneagles Hospital Limited’, which tells of the death of seven women from inhaling free perfume samples. [...]

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Needles in Gas Station Pump Handles

The Standard [St. Catharines, ON]
10 May 2008

Police warn public about e-mail HIV hoax

Standard Staff

A telephone extension at the Niagara Regional Police detachment in Welland won't stop ringing.

Panicked residents and concerned police officers alike dial it after getting an e-mail about a lethal vandal bent on spreading HIV.

The story is alarming and goes like this: Someone is affixing needles laced with HIV to gas station pump handles. Dozens of unsuspecting people get pricked and infected, the e-mail says, and urges people to call Liliane Prevost, an NRP civilian crime analyst. The e-mail even provides Prevost's extension. [...]

Niagara Regional Police Service

Media Release
8 May 2008

Public Service Advisory
Local Computer Hoax Cites the NRPS as Author

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pull-Tab Collection

Sanford News [ME]
8 May 2008

Springvale girl collects pull-tabs to benefit Ronald McDonald House

By Ellen W. Todd Sanford News Writer

SPRINGVALE - Abbie Davis has collected more than 13,000 pull-tabs from beverage cans. [...]

She said she went on the Internet to learn something about pull-tabs and saw something about them being used to help people who need kidney dialysis. She decided she'd collect them to help people. [...]

[Happily for Abbie, a local Ronald McDonald House accepted her pull-tabs.]

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Smiley Face Gang (2)

KAAL-TV [Rochester, MN]
6 May 2008

PA police find possible link to 'Smiley Face Killers'

By: Kristi Piehl, Investigative Reporter

[Police in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, believe that a smiley face graffito may be linked to the drowning death of Tommy Booth. ]

Fox News
7 May 2008

Possible 'Smiley Face Gang' Link Emerges in Case of Missing Middlebury College Freshman

New details have emerged in the search for missing 19-year-old Middlebury College freshman Nicholas Garza that could link him to the so-called "Smiley Face Gang," which a group of retired detectives believes is responsible for the apparent drowning deaths of dozens of young men across the country.

Searchers have found smiley-face graffiti near Garza's campus like that painted near some of the locations where about 40 bodies have been discovered across 11 states, FOX 44 News reported. [...]

Middlebury police believe the graffiti is more than two years old and are not following up on leads related to the alleged gang. [...]

Twin Cities Daily Planet [Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN]
7 May 2008

The smiley-face killers: a born-in-Minneapolis urban legend takes wing

By Steve Perry
Minnesota Monitor

If you missed Kristi Piehl's breathless April 25 KSTP-TV report on the pair of retired NYPD detectives who believe there's a network of serial killers murdering college men around the country - over 40 to date, they claim, and perhaps up to 100 - then you've probably also missed the overnight growth of a new urban legend on the web. [...]

Philadelphia Daily News
8 May 2008

Smiley-face murder theory considered in case of Delaware County man's death

Philadelphia Daily News

THOMAS BOOTH worked as a "first-class drywall finisher," but the 24-year-old's true passion was art, his mother recalled. [...]

Daily Herald [Arlington Heights, IL]
7 May 2008

Could Elgin man's death be work of 'Smiley Face' killer?

By Harry Hitzeman
Daily Heald Staff

Stephany Welzien knows her only child is dead.

What the Elgin woman doesn't know is what happened to her son before he died.

Brian Welzien, a 21-year-old finance major at Northern Illinois University, was last seen by friends outside a Chicago hotel in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, 2000, sick after drinking too much. [...]

21 May 2008

Smiley face killers may be stalking college men

By Randi Kaye
AC 3600 Correspondent

Times-Union [Albany, NY]
22 May 2008

Szostak's father responds to autopsy report


ALBANY - An autopsy report on the body of Joshua Szostak, who was found in the Hudson River on April 22, shows he had a blood alcohol content of 0.126 percent. [...]

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Vonderful Phoque

Frederick Nolan, Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway (NY: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 270.

They opened Higher and Higher at the Shubert in New York on Thursday, April 4, 1940. Backstage, Josh Logan sensed the audience's reaction was less than enthusiastic, although everyone seemed to love the performing seal. After the show, as the audience crowded the center aisle, there was a small but perfect silence. Then into that silence, Logan said, an enthusiastic voice rang out. "Darleeng, zat was zee muss vonderful fuck in zee world!"

Many people turned to see who was talking. It was the
young French wife of an American lawyer. She was using
the French word for 'seal' which is 'phoque.' Her husband
tried to keep her quiet, but she protested, 'I deed not say
zee show was good -- I shuzz say zee fuck was
good -- zee fuck, only zee fuck, and oh, how I loved
zat fuck.' By this time the whole aisle was laughing.

I stood in my box saying to myself, 'At last, a funny
scene -- but it's not onstage.'

Next morning the notices were as gruesome as I knew
they would be. The show ran as long as the advance
sale lasted, a few months.

NAFTA Superhighway

The Press-Register [Mobile, AL]
6 May 2008

Senate backs 'urban legend'

Alabama resolution alleges that a conspiracy is brewing to form a 'North American Union' although experts discount the idea

Capital Bureau

MONTGOMERY -- The state Senate may have been locked down for most of the year, but it did find time to endorse a widely discredited urban legend spread by the John Birch Society.

The upper chamber passed a joint resolution April 10 sponsored by state Sen. Rusty Glover, R-Semmes, claiming that Canada, Mexico and the United States are moving toward a "North American Union" and working on construction of a "NAFTA Superhighway" to link the countries and reportedly destroy their sovereignty. [...]

Monday, May 5, 2008

Officially Dead, No Longer Needs to Pay Taxes

29 January 2008

Man struggles to return from the dead

WARSAW (Reuters) - Red tape is preventing a Polish man from returning from the dead.

Piotr Kucy, 38 and from the city of Polkowice in southwest Poland, was wrongly identified by authorities last August as a drowned man, only to show up a few days after his own funeral.

Despite pointing out the fact that he was alive to government officials, Kucy still remains dead in official records, stopping him from working and paying social insurance.

But on the bright side, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday, he no longer needs to pay taxes. [...]

Fortean Times 236 (July 2008), p. 17.

"I tried to pay my taxes, but was told I couldn't because I was dead," said Teodor Deac, 46, from Negresti Oas in northern Romania. "It turns out that I had been dead since a car crash in June 2007... It was fun at first, but I am hoping to get it corrected soon. After all, as a dead man I can't even go to the doctors, and what if I get married? My wife would be a widow straight away and my children orphans." (Dublin) Metro, 28 Feb 2008

Flight 93 Memorial "glorifies Islam"

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
3 May 2008

Memorial backers assail design critics
Opponents say plans for Flight 93 monument heavy in Islamic symbolism

By Jonathan D. Silver,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Relatives of several people who died aboard United Airlines Flight 93 yesterday dismissed claims that a planned monument to the 40 hijack victims actually glorifies Islam and the terrorists who took over the plane Sept. 11, 2001. [...]

New York Times
5 May 2008

Critics See Symbols of Islam in Flight 93 Memorial Design


SOMERSET, Pa. -- As envisioned by its designer, the memorial to the victims who died on Sept. 11, 2001, when United Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pa., would follow the topography of the bowl-shaped land, creating a circular pathway ringed by trees, all focused on the "sacred ground" of the crash site near the bottom of the circle.

A revised plan, with trees added to close the gap in the crescent. The designer said he included no Islamic symbols.

But almost from the moment the winning entry for the memorial was chosen in 2005 over 1,058 others it has been beset by controversy, most of it coming from critics who see Islamic symbolism in the design. [...]

Error Theory

[Alec Rawls's obsessive blog, with many entries decrying "Islamic and terrorist memorializing design features" in the proposed Flight 93 memorial.]

Friday, May 2, 2008

Marilyn Monroe Sex Film

New York Post
14 April 2008




Some really like it hot.

In the sordid tradition of peddling raunchy video footage of celebrities a la Paris Hilton, a long-buried sex movie of Marilyn Monroe recently hit the market, a top collector told The Post.

An illicit copy of the steamy, still-FBI-classified reel - 15 minutes of 16mm film footage in which the original blond bombshell performs oral sex on an unidentified man - was just sold to a New York businessman for $1.5 million, said Keya Morgan, the well-known memorabilia collector who discovered the film and brokered its purchase. [...]

The Smoking Gun
18 April 2008

Marilyn Monroe Sex Film Hoax

FBI documents contradict broker's unsubstantiated claims about reel

APRIL 18--A New York businessman's claim that he recently brokered the $1.5 million sale of a Marilyn Monroe sex tape is belied by the very FBI documents the man has cited to support his bizarre and unsubstantiated story, The Smoking Gun has learned. [...]

1 May 2008

FBI: No Marilyn Monroe sex film

By Jim Popkin, NBC News Senior Investigative Producer

The FBI does not have a pornographic home movie of actress Marilyn Monroe in its files and never did, FBI officials tell NBC News.

Document analysts at the FBI have completed a manual search of FBI records and found no evidence of the film.

"The records show no indication we ever had such a film," said David Hardy, who organized the search and is chief of the FBI Record/Information Dissemination Section. Hardy said six or seven FBI analysts spent a total of "32 man hours" reading through paper documents at the FBI's records center in Alexandria, Va., and did not find anything indicating that the FBI has or ever had a Marilyn Monroe sex film. [...]

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Smiley Face Serial Killings

New York Daily News
29 April 2008

Ex-NYPD cops say smiley face is link in 40 deaths by serial killer syndicate


A spray-painted smiley face with a taunting grin could be the disturbing signature of a nationwide network of killers who target promising college students.

The chilling symbol has been found at at least 12 sites where young men fitting a distinct profile have been drowned in incidents that were ruled accidents. [...],2933,353624,00.html

Fox News
1 May 2008

FBI: 'No Evidence' to Support 'Smiley Face Gang' Serial Murder Theory;Victims' Families Say There Is

By Catherine Donaldson-Evans

The FBI said there is no proof that dozens of young men who died in mysterious drownings were actually murdered by a nefarious network dubbed the "Smiley Face Gang" - despite theories held by a group of retired detectives and victims' family members. [...]
[Cf. the belief that young men found drowned in La Crosse, Wisconsin, were the victims of a serial killer or killers:]
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
16 April 2004
Drowning worries university community
UW-La Crosse student found in river not linked to other deaths, police say
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
17 April 2004
La Crosse fears a killer, mayor admits
'Most people' think men's deaths are connected, he says
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
23 April 2004
Crowd heckles La Crosse police for blaming drownings on drinking
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
30 April 2004
Drowned student's blood alcohol revised to 0.40
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
18 Aug 2004
Student's family blames city, state in his drowning
La Crosse's 'drunk bus' contributed to his death, legal notice claims
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [WI]
3 Oct 2006
'Disbelief' reigns after student's body recovered
Homan is 8th found in river since '97

Shoe Tree in Northern Michigan

Detroit Free Press
1 May 2008

Weird 'shoe tree' in northern Michigan


I was on my way up M-33 for a video column I'm working on in Alpena when, just a couple miles past the town of Fairview north of Mio, I spotted a bizarre collection of shoes tossed in the branches of a tree. [...]

[One reader's comment:]

I was a teenager in Livonia in the early '90's and we used to drive out to a shoe tree on 9 Mile Rd. It had quite a lot of shoes, similar to the one in your story. I'm not sure exactly where it was, probably Lyon Township, but it was were 9 Mile turned into a windy dirt road. It was near a home that had garage with a big yellow smiley face. The story I heard was that the shoes were put there by a crazy man who lived in the house with the smiley face garage. They were the shoes of the children he supposedly killed or something. I live in the Chicago area now and I don't have a picture, sorry.
Carolyn Barnes

"Placebo" Walk Buttons

Victoria Times Colonist [BC]
1 May 2008

A ritual crossing

A social psychologist says pushing the walk button at an intersection is part of the ritual of crossing a street

Joanne Hatherly, Times Colonist

Do those little "walk" buttons at Victoria intersections really change the timing of the traffic lights? Not everyone is sure they do. [...]