Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Rule of Three" Celebrity Deaths


Washington Post
30 June 2009

For Celebs, Is Death a True 'Triple' Threat?

By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer

Rarely since Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper crashed and died more or less simultaneously in an Iowa cornfield on Feb. 3, 1959, has the Celebrity Death Rule of Three fulfilled itself with such swift efficacy. [...]

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bullet Stopped by Bible

Gerald C. Milnes, Signs, Cures, and Witchery: German Appalachian Folklore (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 2007), p. 27.

Robert Simmons [of Pendleton County, West Virginia], born in 1908, related a story to me about his grandfather, Martin Simmons. He said that during the Civil War, Martin was a conscientious objector, being of the old Brethren pacifist persuasion. When authorities came to force him into conscription, he hid under the house. Someone gave away his hiding place and he was discovered, but he attempted an escape by running across a field. He was shot in the chest as he ran by Armand Hiner, of Franklin, who, I presume, was there in an official capacity. Robert ends this story by saying that the shot never seriously hurt him, as the impact was almost totally absorbed by a small New Testament he had in his shirt pocket. Robert thinks a distant cousin still has the Testament, which "has some bloodstains on it."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Revived Corpse Slaps Pastor


Awareness Times [Freetown, Sierra Leone]
25 June 2009

In Sierra Leone, No Corpse Woke Up in Freetown

By Abdul Fonti & Sylvia Blyden

The Chief Executive of the Columbia Davies Funeral Home, Madam Junietta Macaulay has spoken to Awareness Times during which she completely debunked a wild rumour that spread in Freetown yesterday June 24th 2009 that a corpse of a late female school teacher (name withheld) which had been kept at her Funeral Home, woke up during the Funeral Service at the St. John’s Church in Central Freetown and proceeded to slap the Pastor. [...]

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nepalese Worker Eaten by Vietnamese


Gulf News [United Arab Emirates]
15 July 2007

Probe launched into reports about cannibalism in Qatar

Staff Reporter

Doha: The Public Prosecution has launched an inquiry to find the source of rumours of a Nepalese worker being killed and devoured by four of his Vietnamese colleagues, Asian diplomats and legal sources in Doha said.

The Nepalese charge d'affaires in Doha told Gulf News yesterday his mission received a "confirmation" from Qatari police saying that there were no reports of missing Nepalese workers. [...]


Gulf Times [Qatar]
25 June 2009

Journalists acquitted in ‘cannibalism’ case

Seven local journalists, including three editors-in-chief, were yesterday acquitted of charges of harming the relations with a friendly country and spreading hatred in society by publishing “false news”.

The seven were tried in a case related to a report that appeared in local dailies in June 2007 that four Vietnamese workers had “killed and eaten a Nepali labourer”. [...]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ed McMahon's Mug


The Free-Lance Star [Fredericksburg, VA]
22 May 1992, p. D6

New horizons for second banana No. 1

By Paul Lomartire
Associated Press Writer

[For 30 years as the sidekick on "The Tonight Show," Ed McMahon would sit in a chair next to Johnny Carson's desk and laugh uproariously at the host's wisecracks, pausing occasionally to sip iced tea from a stoneware mug. That mug, Lomartire writes, was "part of the Ed-the-jovial-Irish-drunk legend created and milked by Carson."]

[...] "That's been kind of a running gag, 'What's in Ed's cup?'," [McMahon] says. "People would take a drink and feign it was loaded with booze and they'd almost collapse, gag or choke or some people would drink it all the way down like they liked it." [...]


Washington Post
23 June 2009

Celebritology [Blog]

When I Met Ed McMahon

By Liz Kelly

[Sometime in 1991 Liz Kelly met Ed McMahon backstage at "The Tonight Show" the night her father was a guest. She describes McMahon as being "florid, merry and smelling a bit... spirited."]

[...] We were giddily riding back to the hotel in our NBC-provided limo when dad said that during a commercial break he'd accidentally picked up McMahon's coffee mug for a sip of water, only to discover it was filled with whiskey.

Apocryphal or on the level? Since both dad and McMahon are now dead, we likely won't know. But it does make a good story.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yankee Stadium Rats


New York Times
22 June 2009

Metropolitan Diary

[A man on a New York City train was overheard telling his young son why it's okay to throw peanut shells on the floor of Yankee Stadium. "[T]hey keep rats at Yankee Stadium, and after the fans leave, they let them in to clean up the shells."]

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Having Sex in a Car Will Make It Fall Apart


Sowetan [South Africa]
18 June 2009

Myths you just can’t shake off

Amanda Ngudle

[...] Myth: Having sex in a car will make it fall apart.

Fact: “People who generally take the risk of having sex in a car are usually young people who don’t really fret over the condition of their cars and surroundings in general. Their cars fall apart from negligence, not from the act of sex itself,” [Dr. Lebo] Maile- Maimela says. [...]

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Drink Spiking Study (Australia)


The Australian
16 June 2009

Drink spiking claims rejected

Nic White

THE nightclub scourge of drink spiking is greatly exaggerated and is more likely the result of alcohol consumed willingly by the victim than doping by a predator.

Australian researchers have found that not one of the 97 young men and women admitted over 19 months to two Perth hospitals claiming to have had their drinks spiked had, in fact, been drugged. [...]

McDonald's Staff Have Swine Flu (Bahrain)


Gulf Daily News [Bahrain]
16 June 2009

Restaurant rumours rapped

HEALTH Ministry officials yesterday urged people to ignore rumours that staff at the popular fast food chain McDonald's had tested positive for swine flu. [...]

Abducted Teenagers (Hungarian Chain Letter)



Pestiside.hu [Budapest]
16 June 2009

From the Inbox (I): Hungarian Police in Kidnapping Spree Coverup

A chain letter calling Eger and Győr the new epicenters of kidnapping in Hungary has been making its way around Hungarian inboxes recently. [...]

[Teenagers are being abducted by people in a Mercedes.]

Monday, June 15, 2009

UA Football Team's No. 12 Jersey


Tuscaloosa News [AL]
14 June 2009


Tommy Deas

Urban Mythbuster: Alabama's No. 12 jersey

Apparently there has been an urban myth going around about the No. 12 jersey on the University of Alabama football team.

The jersey, according to the myth, is somehow sacred. Only a player -- specifically a quarterback -- who is thought to be the next all-time great is supposed to be assigned that number. There's even a version that claims that to wear the No. 12, a player has to have the blessing of not only the head coach, but whoever wore it before him. [...]

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bristol Zoo Parking Lot Attendant's Scam


Evening Post [Bristol, UK]
13 June 2009

Urban myth of the Bristol Zoo parking attendant

[...] Touted as a genuine news article, the tale of a Bristol Zoo parking attendant who lined his own pockets with customers' cash for 23 years before going missing with the loot has set cyberspace alight.

But the Evening Post can confirm the story, which has been emailed to thousands of people across the globe in recent months, is nothing more than an urban myth – and the real attendants say the joke is starting to wear thin. [...]

[The article notes that this legend also appeared in the Evening Post two years ago on April Fools' Day.]

Friday, June 12, 2009

Water Moccasins in Lake Sinclair?


The Baldwin Bulletin [Milledgeville, GA]
10 June 2009

Water mocassins on Lake Sinclair?

Chris McKearney

[Many people wrongly believe that venomous water moccasins live in Lake Sinclair. Pres Haslam, a marina owner, laughs at the legend that a man water skiing on the lake died from water moccasin bites. "I think it’s a story that’s told on every lake in Georgia. I’ve had people from out of town come to the marina and tell me that story. But the only difference is that the story happened on the lake back where they are from."]

Vampire Rumors at Elementary School


The Daily Herald [Everett, WA]
11 June 2009

Lake Stevens school quells vampire rumors

By Kaitlin Manry
Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS -- Lake Stevens school administrators want to drive a stake through rumors that vampires -- or children making believe they were undead -- abducted and bit two Mount Pilchuck Elementary School students. [...]

[Apparently the rumors started after a seventh-grade girl hugged a fifth-grade boy.]


KOMO News [Seattle, WA]
11 June 2009

Vampire rumors haunt Lake Stevens

By Theron Zahn

[Although school district officials say there is no evidence the girl bit him, the boy's mother insists there were marks on his forehead "that looked like they could be from her teeth."]

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stella Awards Editorial (Lebanon Daily News)


Lebanon Daily News [PA]
6 June 2009

Sad but true

We can’t begin to describe what you’re about to read. It could fall into the category of “what were they thinking,” but that language isn’t nearly strong enough. We don’t know if language has been invented yet to describe the wrongness to which we are about to subject you. [...]

[The editorial goes on to describe some infamous lawsuits that appear on a website dedicated to the "Stella Awards." Two days later, the paper apologizes for its gullibility.]


Lebanon Daily News [PA]
8 June 2009

We fell for it

[...] Jury madness is something that pushes our buttons; always has. So when we received what we thought were other egregious examples of juries gone wild, we ran with it before we stopped to vet the information. We saw red, brought our level of righteous indignation to the boiling point and fired off a lament against the legal system that had virtually no basis in reality. [...]

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Red Mercury Gang Caught (Kuwait)


Arab Times [Kuwait]
2 June 2009

Gang held selling $42m worth ‘red mercury’

KUWAIT CITY : In an incident which is believed to be the first of its kind in the Gulf region, police have reportedly arrested four men — a Kuwaiti, a Syrian and two Egyptians — for attempting to sell two grams of ‘Red Mercury’, worth $42 million, reports Al-Qabas daily. [...]

[The Syrian claims the red mercury -- a remarkably versatile substance that can be used to boost sexual potency or make a nuclear weapon -- was taken from an Egyptian mummy.]


Kuwait Times
2 June 2009

Nuke material smugglers caught

KUWAIT: The existence of the chemical substance red mercury as well as its application in making nuclear bombs has been denied by a third year student of chemistry in Kuwait University. The student explained that what is popularly known as red mercury is either mercury oxide or mercury mixed with red dye. [...]

Third-Grade Failures Predict Prison Spots


Washington Post
4 June 2009

In Politics, Fact, Fancy Can Blur in Keystroke
Bogus Claim Linking Jail, School Raised Election After Election

By Maria Glod and Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writers

[...] "Imagine if your entire future was determined by what you did in the third grade," says Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in a television advertisement promoting his plan to expand preschool. "Did you know we use the failure rates of third-graders to help predict how many prison spots Virginia will need in 15 years?" [...]

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rumored Fate of Tamil Tiger Chief


The Australian
17 May 2009

Fate of Sri Lankan rebel chief Velupillai Prabhakaran a mystery

SRI Lanka is gripped by rumours about the fate of Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, who is said to either have been killed, smuggled abroad, or even be living under the sea in a survival capsule. [...]