Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Eiffel Tower in Baltimore

Baltimore Sun
31 May 2009

Eiffel Tower in Baltimore?

By Frederick N. Rasmussen

[An article in the New York World in 1894 claimed that a "syndicate of Baltimore capitalists" had bought the Eiffel Tower for $500,000 and planned to move it to Baltimore's Clifton Park to celebrate that city's centennial in 1897.]

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Worms in Condoms

The Independent [South Africa]
28 May 2009

Free condoms 'have worms'

The fight against Aids in North West has been hampered by myths, including the belief government-issue condoms "have worms", researchers say.

The finding is reported in a study in the latest issue of the Journal of Social Aspects of HIV and Aids.

Though the "worms" myth was raised by only a few respondents in a survey conducted across the province, the researchers said it was persistent, and came up in all the focus group discussions they had held. [...]

The Times [South Africa]
30 May 2009

What a can of worms

Claire Keeton

The condoms and worms myth is under the spotlight again, following a report in the current issue of the Journal of Social Aspects of HIV and Aids, showing that it persists.

I first heard it nearly 10 years ago when I was speaking to workers at a gold mine in Carltonville, near Joburg, and then again at a coal mine near Witbank. [...]

Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS

Hurricane Ike Baby Boom (2)

WLWT-TV [Cincinnati, OH]
20 May 2009

Hospitals Expecting Hurricane Ike Baby Boom
Doctors Say 50 Percent Birth Increase In Coming Weeks

CINCINNATI -- It's been nearly nine months after the winds from Hurricane Ike blew through, leaving thousands in the dark for days, now another storm is brewing.

The power was off but apparently things were still heating up in some Tri-State homes as local hospitals are preparing for the beginning of a major baby boom. [...]

WLKY-TV [Louisville, KY]
21 May 2009

Hurricane Ike Baby Boom Hits Louisville
Expectant Mothers Say They Conceived During Power Outage

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The windstorm from Hurricane Ike blew in nine months ago, but many of the consequences are just now coming out for the first time.

A mini baby boom could hit area hospitals in June, but some “Ike babies” have already started making their debut. [...]

Dayton Daily News [OH]
29 May 2009

Did September's windstorm cause May's baby boom?
Local hospitals seeing more births 9 months after windstorm caused lengthy power outages.

By Jordan Pridemore
Staff Writer

Last September the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through Ohio, leaving thousands of homes and businesses without power for days. Now, nine months later, residents are bracing themselves for another brush with forces of nature. [...]

Columbus Dispatch [OH]
22 June 2009

Generation Ike
At Mount Carmel St. Ann's, June births are running 36 ahead of average, a 16 percent increase

By Jeffrey Sheban

The power went out and the sparks started flying.

Nine months after the remnants of Hurricane Ike disrupted electricity to hundreds of thousands of central Ohioans, maternity wards are bulging with newborns. [...]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jewish Woman Responds to Bovine Insults

Jerusalem Post
28 May 2009

Hebrew Hear-Say: Where the moo's takes me


[...] Urban legend tells of a group of Israeli guys sitting on a London Underground train making rude remarks in Hebrew about a woman who was - how should we put it? - horizontally challenged. The comments became ever meaner, including: me-eizeh refet hi ba'a? (what cowshed did she come from?) to: "nimkor ota leTnuva vena'aseh ktzat kesef" (Let's sell her to the Tnuva dairy factory and make some money - talk about a cash cow, para holevet). Over the years, the legend has, of course, grown - as, indeed, has the reported size of the woman and the number of people who swear this happened to a friend of theirs. The punch line, however, remains the same: The woman sat impassively amid the Hebrew insults but as she stepped through the sliding doors when she got off, she looked back over her shoulder and said: "Moooo!"

The suitably humbled guys went chalk white (lavan kesid) before going red with embarrassment. [...]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Man in a Van Rumors (Riverview, NB)

Times & Transcript [Moncton, NB, Canada]
27 May 2009

Suspicious van report fuels fiction, fears
Man in van story based on fact, but Riverview incident grows into an urban myth

Brent Mazerolle

[...] The e-mails -- there are at least three versions with different details -- have spread through every workplace in the community and have been repeated by worried parents on every schoolyard. By yesterday, an initial story about a child or children being approached by a man or men in a van that has been variously described as red, burgundy, wine-coloured and purple -- with the man or men enticing the child or children with offers to pat either pet rats or pet rocks -- had devolved into verbal accounts of a Riverview girl actually being abducted and murdered by a man in a van. There has, of course, been no abduction or murder in Riverview this week. [...]

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Abducted Child Has Hair Cut

Great Yarmouth Mercury [UK]
26 May 2009

Supermarket quashes abduction rumour

A supermarket chain has quashed rumours that have caused concern among parents in Great Yarmouth that a missing girl was found in the store with her hair cut.

The Mercury was contacted by a reader this week who said he understood a two-year-old girl reported missing in the Tesco store on Pasteur Road last week was found with two men after a search.

Her hair had been cut and her clothing had been changed. [...]

The Herald [Plymouth, UK]
2 June 2009

Shopping centre hits out at urban legend

FALSE rumours about a child being kidnapped in the city's Drake Circus mall have led its management to issue a statement reassuring shoppers.

The urban legend centres on the terrifying story of a young girl being abducted while in a large store, her hair cut and dyed and her clothes changed to disguise her as a boy, before she is then smuggled out of the premises past unsuspecting security guards and police. [...]

Monday, May 25, 2009

Child Abduction & Organ Theft Rumors (Vietnam)

Saigon GP Daily
25 May 2009

Police dismiss kidnapping rumor

A mob in Gia Lam District, Hanoi, captured a man, who they alleged was trying to steal a boy’s bicycle and kidnap him, and marched the man to the commune’s People’s Committee on May 23.

Thousands of locals demanded the police let them punish the man, as rumors that children in the district had been kidnapped for internal organs have been circulating for some months. It has led to a tense environment in the area, with many parents concerned about kidnappers, despite continued denials by local authorities. [...]

VietNamNet Bridge
25 May 2009

Nearly 100 policemen mobilised to break up “lynch mob”

Vietnam News [Hanoi]
27 May 2009

Talk Around Town

Urban legends stir up real fears

by Thu Giang

[...] Two weeks ago, a rumour went around that a common grave for seven children without organs had been found at Dang Xa and Phu Thi communes in Ha Noi’s outlying district of Gia Lam. The story raced from mouth to mouth that there were people kidnapping children to get their organs. [...]

Saturday, May 16, 2009

White Vans

ABC News [Australia]
16 May 2009

Man in white van 'an urban myth'

By John Stewart for Lateline

In recent years, many media reports about men in vans attempting to snatch children off the streets has played on a parent's greatest fear.

But criminologists say most of the reports are false, and the story about the man in the white van has become an urban myth. [...]

Kansas Church Ruins Are a Gateway to Hell

Lawrence Journal-World [Kansas]
16 May 2009

Gateway to 150: Long subject to urban legend, Stull church opens new center for sesquicentennial

By Sarah Henning

For decades, the former home of Stull United Methodist Church was the destination of thrill seekers around northeastern Kansas, who came to the abandoned building perched above a cemetery enraptured by stories of the old church being one of the “seven gateways to Hell.” [...]

Friday, May 15, 2009

'Women Arrest Law' (S. African e-mail),,2-7-1442_2517243,00.html

News24 [South Africa]
15 May 2009

'Woman Arrest Law' e-mail a hoax

Johannesburg - Police urged the public on Friday to ignore a "hoax" e-mail about women's rights when being arrested, with the subject line: "Woman Arrest Law".

Director Sally De Beer said the hoax e-mail was being circulated at an increasing rate in South Africa and could have far-reaching effects if not disputed.

"The e-mail claims that between 18:00 and 06:00, a woman under arrest has the right to refuse being arrested by a male police official, even if an arrest warrant has been issued against her," she said in a statement.

The e-mail adds that a woman can only be arrested by a woman officer and be held at an "all women" police station. [...]

Swine Flu Resulted from Lab Accident

New York Times
14 May 2009

Swine Flu Not an Accident From a Lab, W.H.O. Says

By Donald G. McNeil Jr.

The swine flu virus did not result from a laboratory accident, the World Health Organization said Thursday, working to debunk rumors started by an Australian virologist and circulated by news outlets all over the world. [...]

Fate of Victims of Prudential Building Bombing (Hull, 1941)

Hull Daily Mail [UK]
15 May 2009

Secret file sheds light on blitz raid

The discovery of a top-secret document has shed light on the infamous air raid attack which reduced a city centre building to rubble.

The main bulk of the Prudential building in King Edward Street, overlooking Queen Victoria Square, was bombed in May 1941, leaving only an ornate tower standing precariously on its own.

A number of residents were killed after taking shelter in the building, but the exact number of deaths was not known and a gruesome belief began to emerge that the bodies had been left there and covered with quick lime. [...]

[It was also rumored that the people in the building were "drowned by water from fire hoses."]

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Child Abduction Rumors, Cyprus

Cyprus Mail
14 May 2009

Child abduction rumours panicking parents

By Stefanos Evripidou

[...] One text message doing the rounds yesterday read: “SOS CHILDREN KIDNAPPED IN LARNACA. Three in the last few days from organised groups of foreigners (Turkish Cypriots).”

The message goes on to tell a long story about one alleged incident in a popular retail store where a man tried to kidnap a four-year-old child by offering sweets and a change of clothes. The kidnapper was stopped by vigilant saleswomen at the retail store, informed the text. [...]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Man Buys Porn DVD, Sees Wife's Performance,23739,25473694-5013016,00.html

The Courier-Mail [Australia]
13 May 2009

Article from: AAP

Man busts wife, mate in porn DVD

A TAIWAN carpenter bought a porn DVD only to find secretly taped motel footage of his wife having sex with his friend, whom the husband later stabbed. [...]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hurricane Ike Baby Boom

Houston Chronicle
12 May 2009

A baby boom thanks to Ike?

Doctors speculate as a number of women near due dates in June, 9 months after storm


Doctors who work in Houston's busiest maternity ward say they're expecting an especially bustling June, leading some to conclude that Hurricane Ike was the perfect storm for making babies. [...]

Somali Gang Attacks on Women (Edmonton, Alberta)

Edmonton Sun [Alberta, Canada]
12 May 2009

Don't believe e-mail about attacks: cops
Claims gang members beat women


Cops say exaggerated reports of an Edmonton woman being attacked -- circulating in the city via e-mail, and warning residents of a rash of violent attacks against women on the north side -- is more fiction than fact.

The urban legend started as an e-mail that warns of Somali gang members who have savagely beaten a handful of women in the Kensington area, near 134 Avenue and 119 Street, using crowbars and a butcher knife.

Edmonton Police Service spokesman Karen Carlson says the e-mail likely stemmed from an incident last month where three black males -- who have no proven connections to any gangs or the Somali community -- robbed and beat a woman in that area. [...]

Chinese Restaurant Serves Cat Meat (Wales)

South Wales Evening Post
12 May 2009

Restaurant hits back at rumours it serves cat and dog meat

STAFF at a city centre restaurant have condemned an untrue rumour running through the city that they are serving up cat and dog meat.

Workers at the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, China China, said they laughed when they first heard the rumour. But they now fear the joke has gone too far and could affect business.

Assistant manager Samantha Perks, aged 30, said staff at the restaurant, based in Salubrious Place, had received phone calls and visits from people accusing them of passing off cat meat as chicken. [...]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Red Mercury in Grenades
7 May 2009

The Herald
Published by the government of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Constable Jailed 10 Years

[Bothwell Nyamuwe stole weapons from an armoury in Nyanga, believing that "grenades had red mercury and were fetching a lot of money across the border in Mozambique."]

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Car Crashes & Penectomies

The Star [Malaysia]
5 May 2009

Secretary accidentally bites off boss' penis

A SECRETARY accidentally bit off the penis of her employer while giving him oral sex in a car.

Sin Chew Daily and China Press reported yesterday that while the 30-year-old woman was performing oral sex on the man, the car was hit by a reversing van.

The impact of the crash, China Press reported, caused the woman to bite off her lover’s organ. [...]

[Cf. Gershon Legman, Rationale of the Dirty Joke, Second Series (1975), 438; Robert Pollock, Good Luck, Mr Gorsky (1999), 62. Pollock also includes a sex-reversed variant in which a boy bites off his girlfriend's nipple when their parked car is hit by a drunk driver (p. 61).]

Mainichi Shimbun [Japan]
30 Aug 2003


Red-faced love hotel antics bite to the bone

By Ryann Connell
Staff Writer

[…] Love hotels throughout Japan are apparently rushing to carry out repairs to improve their image. Perhaps some of their customers need to take similar action, based on what Shukan Jitsuwa (9/11) has to report.

[…] Sometimes, customers don't even need to get into a love hotel to emerge red-faced.

"We're a fairly popular hotel, so on Friday nights customers often have to wait in their cars in the parking lot until a room becomes available. Some of the couples find the wait a bit too long and get to work in their cars," an Osaka love hotel manager tells Shukan Jitsuwa. "One day, one of those impatient couples were waiting at the end of a line when the girl started performing fellatio on her partner. While she was at it, a car drove up behind them and failed to notice the line, crashing into their vehicle. The bump caused the girl to bite. The poor guy was drenched in his own blood and had to be taken to the hospital. If they'd only waited a little bit longer, something like this would never have happened."

John Irving, The World According to Garp (Modern Library, 1998 [1978]), pp. 422-3.

Helen's mouth was snapped shut with such force that she broke two teeth and required two neat stitches in her tongue.

At first she thought she had bitten her tongue off, because she could feel it swimming in her mouth, which was full of blood; but her head ached so severely that she didn't dare open her mouth, until she had to breathe, and she couldn't move her right arm. She spat what she thought was her tongue into the palm of her left hand. It wasn't her tongue, of course. It was what amounted to three quarters of Michael Milton's penis.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Robbers Put Laundry Baskets Under Cars

The Humble Observer [Texas]
1 May 2009

Mall officials, police deny rumors of robbery trick


[...] The e-mail warns residents that criminals are placing laundry baskets underneath parked cars in the Deerbrook Mall parking lot, forcing shoppers to exit their car upon leaving the mall to investigate the noise. Rumor has it that the crook then makes his move and robs or car-jacks the unsuspecting victim. The e-mail further claims that a security guard at Deerbrook Mall advised of at least two cases of this nature recently. [...]