Monday, September 28, 2009

Child Abduction Rumors (Northern Ireland)

Ballymena Times [Northern Ireland]
22 September 2009

Attempted child abduction 'urban myth' - say police

By Staff reporter

RIFE rumours that a little girl had been abducted recently in a Ballymena supermarket were completely unfounded, a local police officer has said.

The circulating speculation included a rumour that the young victim had been led into shop toilets where she was put into boys’ clothes and even given a shaved head to mask her identity by her phantom abductors. [...]

28 September 2009

Abduction story is NI 'urban legend'

The PSNI have refuted rumours of attempted child abductions at various supermarkets throughout Northern Ireland. [...]

Preserved Bodies on the Bottom of Lake Tahoe

28 September 2009

Corpses, Hungry Bears Embellish Lake Tahoe Non-Casino Pleasures

By Peter J. Brennan

[...] “The world isn’t ready for what’s down there,” is the apocryphal quote attributed to the late marine explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau in the 1980s and repeated to us by our white-water rafting guide on the Truckee River. [...]

The lake rumor is that dozens if not hundreds of bodies, including Mafia victims, are perfectly preserved near the bottom. Our rafting guide theorized that bodies cannot float in such cold, fresh water and there aren’t enough bacteria at the bottom to dispose of the remains. [...]

The Dismantled Plane

Bill Kaysing, We Never Went to the Moon (Cornville, AZ.: Desert Publications, 1981), p. 186.


While in Las Vegas in 1976, I met a man who told me the following story which he claimed was true. It seems a doctor and his family accidentally flew over the secret DOE (formerly NTS) base north of Vegas. The base is definitely off-limits to both air and surface travel. It is also the region that I claim was used for "lunar" photography. The doctor's plane was forced down by USAF fighter planes and was totally dismantled...evidently searching for a hidden camera. The doctor and his family were questioned at great length and finally released. The plane was shipped back to the doctor in pieces.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Heavy Petting in Hot Tub Leads to Pregnancy


24 September 2009

Attention 'Glee' Fans: A Hot Tub Cannot Get You Pregnant

Kate Dailey

[...] The most preposterous thing in last night's episode of Glee [...] was sweet, hot, dumb jock Finn believing that he got his girlfriend pregnant by kissing in a hot tub.

They didn't even take off their swimsuits! Finn sputters, though in fairness there was some premature ejaculation. No matter, cheerleader Quinn shrugs. "A hot tub is the perfect temperature for sperm," she says. "It helps them swim faster."

Of course, it's later shown that Quinn, president of the chastity club, got a little action on the side and was just trying to protect her rep and her relationship. [...]

DNR Secretly Releasing Mountain Lions

Bemidji Pioneer [MN]
24 September 2009

Mountain lion backlash

By: Molly Miron, Bemidji Pioneer

[...] The other rumor going around is that the DNR has imported and released mountain lions to cut down the whitetail deer overpopulation. I have asked more than one DNR officials about the claim. They told me the DNR has released grouse or prairie chickens in western Minnesota and, many years ago, reintroduced fishers in Itasca State Park to control porcupines. No mountain lions. One specialist said a radio-collared mountain lion was spotted in this area some time ago, but the animal had been collared in the Black Hills of South Dakota and had wandered here from out West.

I talked to someone today who said a DNR official had told him/her 15 mountain lions had been released near here, but that the DNR doesn't want people to know. I asked for a written affidavit from this official who reported the releases before I would consider the claim. The response was that officials don't want to put it in writing, but the caller would see about getting written testimony. [...]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Montgomery Animal Massacre

New Jersey Real-Time News

Rumors about Montgomery animal shelter closing flood officials with phone calls

By New Jersey Local News Service
September 23, 2009, 1:41PM

MONTGOMERY -- If you want to bombard a township with calls from angry people, start a rumor that cats and dogs are going to die.

That's exactly what happened Tuesday and today, when an Internet rumor claiming the local animal shelter in Montgomery was going to close and all cats and dogs remaining there would be euthanized.

And it happened across the country, too, as a viral rumor with countless incarnations made similar claims about shelters in communities named Montgomery. Only one shelter, located in a Texas County by the same name, is closing and its operator was working to find homes for all the pets, according to a local newspaper there. [...]

Philadelphia Inquirer
23 September 2009

Local shelter closing, dooming pets? No way

By Peter Mucha

Talk about news getting twisted until it loses the truth: No animals face death today because of the closing of a Montgomery County Animal Shelter. [...]

The Leaf Chronicle [TN]
23 September 2009

Local animal shelter staying open


Misinformation posted on Facebook over the weekend has launched a wave of concerned phone calls and e-mails to the local animal shelter and county mayor’s office.

There was a typo in the Internet article about an animal shelter in Montgomery County, Texas needing to close because of lack of funding, said Elizabeth Black, public information officer for Montgomery County, Tn. [...]

The Courier of Montgomery County [Texas]
23 September 2009

Rumor Mongrels: Confusion leads to flurry of pet adoptions at animal shelters

By Brad Meyer

Unsubstantiated rumors that dogs and cats would be euthanized when the Humane Society of Montgomery County ceased operations in Conroe last weekend resulted in traffic jams and a rush to adopt pets. [...]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Henna Poisoning Rumors (India)

Times of India
22 September 2009

Rumours spoil festive mood

RANCHI: Eid celebrations on Monday were marred by rumours of henna causing severe allergic reactions among women and children in Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa. Traditionally, women apply henna after the sighting of the Eid moon. Khurshid Hassan Rumi of Anjuman Islamia said the rumours were generated by mischief-mongers.

It isn’t clear where the first rumours originated, but in no time there were long queues of ‘patients’ in front of hospitals on Sunday night. As announcements were made from mosques warning people not to use henna, women rushed to hospitals complaining of severe burning sensation on their palms. [...]

Patna Daily
22 September 2009

Thousands Taken Ill after Using Henna; Probe Ordered

A day after panic over poisoned henna ensued in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday, ordered a high-level probe in the complaints saying the whole thing was a conspiracy to foment communal unrest in the state when the Muslims were engaged in celebrating Eid in the state. [...]

Bihar Times
21 September 2009

Eid turns sour as women, girls taken ill after applying artificial mehndi

[...] It appears that the people actually fell ill by applying mehndi. But since they could not realize as to how can a person be poisoned by mehndi they thought that milk may be the cause of the illness. So in suspicion they threw tonnes of milk in the drain.
The loudspeakers of the mosques were used in the wee hours of the Eid day to appeal to the people not to use artificial mehndi and Sudha milk. [...]
Bihar Times
22 September 2009
Mehndi, milk mania: Nitish sees conspiracy, orders probe

Calcutta Telegraph
24 September 2009

State bans mehndi


[...] Bhadrak, Balasore, Padampur, Sambalpur, Khurda and Bhubaneswar drug inspectors today swung into action, raiding shops and collecting samples. It was found that two brands, Dulhan Purohit and Mila, caused the reaction. [...]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Suicidal Engineer (John Edward Schwitzer)

Prairie Post West [Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada]
17 September 2009

High Level Bridge has an interesting history

By Alisha Sims
Southern Alberta Newspapers

Lethbridge -- The High Level Bridge was an engineering failure, John Edward Schwitzer concluded.

Weeks prior to the final pieces of steel being laid on the 5,327.625 feet (1.6 kilometres) long and 314 feet (96 metres) high structure, the senior engineer on Canadian Pacific Railway’s Western lines realized the project would never work.

Humiliated by his miscalculations that would result in a whopping $1,334,525 failure and determined to prevent a single train from crossing the tracks of what many newspapers of the day were calling “one of the wonders of the world,” Schwitzer walked across the nearly completed structure, turned to the side and stepped off, his body plummeting to the earth below. [...]

While researching stories about the Lethbridge landmark on and off for about a month, [Belinda] Crowson came across another myth regarding Schwitzer’s death. Story has it while he was in charge of engineering the famous spiral tunnels in the Rocky Mountains, he realized a week before the tunnels were finished that his mathematical calculations were off and they’d never meet in the middle. He entered one of the tunnels and shot himself in the head. A week later, the tunnels were completed and met in the middle as Schwitzer had calculated and he took his own life for nothing. [...]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bees & Wasps Repelled by Bags of Water

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
16 September 2009

PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Bounce bees with bags of water?

Q: I was at a child’s birthday party, and wasps and bees were flying all over while the food was out. Someone said to get self-sealing plastic bags (sandwich-size is fine), fill them with water and put them on the table. The wasps disappeared. If I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes, I never would have believed it. [...]

Perfume Attacks (St Helens, UK)

St Helens Reporter [UK]
16 September 2009

A real stinker: police probe fable of crooked perfume salesman

By Chris Amery

It may be a tale as old as the hills - but the story of a dodgy perfume salesman drugging and robbing unsuspecting female shoppers has been given new life in St Helens.

Stories circulating that the elaborate scam is being operated outside Asda's popular Kirkland Street store have even prompted police to investigate and local councillors to issue warnings in their official minutes. [...]

Phone Masts Could Poison Food (Bahrain)

Gulf Daily News [Bahrain]
2 September 2009

Row over illegal phone masts


MUNICIPAL councillors will vote today whether to seek an urgent court order to remove illegal phone masts on rooftops in Muharraq, which have caused violent clashes between neighbours.

Muharraq Municipal Council has been bombarded with calls from residents complaining about neighbours, who are paid by telecommunication companies to set up masts at their homes or buildings.

There have been violent clashes between neighbours amid rumours that emissions from the masts could poison food. [...]

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jelly Bracelets, Shag Bands, etc.

Daily Camera [Boulder, CO]
10 September 2009

Lafayette middle school discourages jelly bracelets, citing sexual meanings

By Vanessa Miller
Camera Staff Writer

The principal of Lafayette's Angevine Middle School is asking parents to discourage their children from wearing colored jelly bracelets to school because of rumors that they carry sexual meanings. [...]

The Star [UK]
12 September 2009

Sex band outrage

By Kate Lahive

AN OUTRAGED South Yorkshire mum has hit out at a sexually-explicit children's fashion craze which is sweeping the nation.

Youngsters up and down the country are sporting so-called 'shag bands' - bendy plastic wrist bangles which look just like innocent friendship bracelets and come in an array of trendy neon colours.

But the idea behind them is the wearer twists two of the bands together - and then jokingly agrees to sleep with whoever gets close enough to snap the bands apart. [...]
Sheffield Telegraph [UK]
14 September 2009
Children's 'shag band' fashion craze outrage
Daily Mail [UK]
24 September 2009
Thousands of young children are buying coloured wristbands every week. But parents have no idea of their true disturbing meaning...
By Sadie Nicholas
Daily Mirror [UK]
25 September 2009
Fury over 'sex' bracelets sold to school children
By Euan Stretch
Yorkshire Post [UK]
27 September 2009
Jayne Dowle: Why my boy in the bands doesn't need a slap on the wrist
By Jayne Dowle,27574,26131516-1248,00.html
The Courier-Mail [Australia]
27 September 2009
Shag bands a parent's worst nightmare
By Carly Hennessy
The Sun [UK]
29 September 2009
Bracelet which means your child is having SEX
By Dulcie Pearce

[As a bonus, the Sun article also contains a warning about rainbow parties.]

The Star [South Yorkshire, UK]
1 October 2009

Pressure growing to ban sex bands

By Kate Lahive

PRESSURE is growing for a ban on a sexually explicit children's fashion craze sweeping the nation - after The Star highlighted the playground trend that has horrified parents. [...]

Wales on Sunday
11 October 2009

Should these ‘shag bands’ be banned?

by Clare Hutchinson, Wales On Sunday

CHILDREN as young as SIX are wearing bracelets advertising their sexual availability.

The brightly-coloured rubber bands – known as shag bands – are the latest craze to sweep playgrounds across Wales. [...]

BBC News [UK]
25 September 2009

MP calls for 'sex bracelet' ban

[...] Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, who was elected in May 2005, wants under 16s banned from buying the items. [...]

BBC News [UK]
2 October 2009

County schools ban 'sex' bracelet

Coloured plastic bracelets claimed to encourage promiscuity among youngsters will be banned from a county's schools.

Carmarthenshire council said it was the first in Wales to stop pupils wearing the bands around their wrists. [...]

The Times [UK]
10 November 2009

Would you let your daughter wear a "shag band"?

Chloe Lambert
Dorset Echo [UK]
21 November 2009
Call for 'sex bracelets' to be banned
By Miriam Phillips
Dorset Echo [UK]
24 November 2009
Parents' horror over 'sex bands' at Weymouth and Portland schools
By Laura Kitching and Miriam Phillips
Lancashire Evening Post [UK]
30 November 2009
'Sex act' wristbands withdrawn from toy shops
By Melanie Wallwork
Wigan Today [UK]
3 December 2009
'Sex' bracelets concern
By Natalie Walker

Monday, September 7, 2009

Who Is Worse Than John Mellencamp?

30 June 2003

Ain't that America?

By Eric Boehlert

[...] [John Mellencamp:] When the song first came out I was in the car one day and we were driving to the airport and I had my kids with me and a radio station was playing "To Washington" and having callers call in. Some guy comes on and says, "I don't know who I hate the most, John Mellencamp or Osama bin Laden." My kids heard that and my 9-year-old said, "Dad, are they talking about you? Why are people mad at you?" [...]

The Washington Post
7 December 2004, p. C01

The Blue in Blue-Collar
Despite Backlash, John Mellencamp Continues to Fight Authority

By Sean Daly
Washington Post Staff Writer

[...] He leans forward, his voice a whisper: "I got so much [bleepin' stuff] over that song. I was in the car going to the airport with my boys and my wife, and they were playing the record on the radio. As soon as the song was over, they took callers, like they were rating the record on Dick Clark. The first call was some hillbilly going, 'I don't know who I hate the worse now, John Mellencamp or Saddam Hussein.' My kids heard that!" [...]

[I've no reason to doubt Mellencamp's anecdote, even though he can't decide if he was compared to Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. -- bc]

Dumb Tourist Questions (Banff, Alberta)

Calgary Herald [Alberta, Canada]
29 August 2009

20 dumb Questions

At what elevation do deer turn into elk? That's just one of the many silly questions Banff tour operators hear on the job

By Lisa Monforton, Calgary Herald

The Body in the Farmer's Pickling Box

Star Tribune [Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN]
7 September 2009

What really happened to Clell Miller's body?

By PEG MEIER, Special to the Star Tribune

[In 1876 medical student Henry Wheeler shot dead bank robber Clell Miller, then got possession of his cadaver for his medical school. But before the body was shipped to the University of Michigan, the story goes, it was stored temporarily in a farmer's pickling box.]

[...] Soon after, a young Swedish immigrant who had worked for the farmer that summer showed up to collect his wages. The farmer explained that no one -- repeat, no one -- was paid until the wheat crop was marketed. The young man was persistent. Again, he demanded his pay.

So the farmer took the hired man out to the barn. He pulled an old horse blanket off the top of the pickling box, pointed to Miller's decaying corpse and said, "That is the last man who asked me for his pay before he was entitled to it."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cobra Kills Store Customer (Thailand, 2002)

Phuket Gazette [Thailand]
19 March 2002

Cobra tale ‘poisonous nonsense’ – Super Cheap

PHUKET TOWN: The Managing Director of Phuket Town’s famed Super Cheap emporium admitted to being furious today about what he sees as a venomous whispering campaign, probably inspired by business rivals.

The story going the rounds yesterday and today was that a 40-year-old woman shopping at Super Cheap went to take onions from a display in the vegetables section. As she dug around for good ones, she felt a sharp pain on the back of her hand. [...]

[She died from a cobra bite. Seventy cobra eggs were found in a nest underneath the onions.]

Ribbons on Cabs Indicate Support for the Taliban

Halifax Evening Courier [UK]
5 September 2009

Myth of the 'taliban' ribbons: Police deny cabbies' tags show loyalty to extremists

By Emily Heward

POLICE have crushed rumours that black ribbons hanging from Halifax cabs are symbols of support for the Taliban. [...]

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Syringe Attacks (Urumqi, China)

The Associated Press
3 September 2009

Syringe attacks spark new protest in Chinese city


BEIJING — Hundreds of Chinese protested deteriorating public safety Thursday after a series of mysterious syringe attacks further unnerved residents in the western Chinese city of Urumqi where ethnic rioting in July killed nearly 200 people. [...]

Xinhua [China]
3 September 2009

Tens of thousands of protesters demand security guarantees in Urumqi after hypodermic syringe attacks

URUMQI, Sept.3 (Xinhua) -- Crowds gathered at a number of sites in downtown Urumqi Thursday to protest against hypodermic syringe attacks in the capital city of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and demanded security guarantees from authorities. [...]

Police said that attacks with syringes against innocent people have been carried out in Urumqi since Aug. 17. The regional health department said 476 people have sought treatment for stabbing, of whom 89 were showing obvious signs of needle sites. At Sept. 2, there had been no deaths reported and no symptoms have been found of infectious disease viruses or toxic chemicals. [...]

Xinhua [China]
4 September 2009

Urumqi protesters confront police over syringe attacks

URUMQI, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Urumqi residents confronted armed police Friday during protests against further hypodermic needle attacks as uncertainty stalked the streets of the city. [...]
Associated Press
5 September 2009
China blames Muslim separatists for needle attacks
Xinhua [China]
5 September 2009
4 prosecuted for endangering public security in Urumqi syringe attacks
Xinhua [China]
5 September 2009
Police chief stresses stability as situation in Urumqi comes under control

Xinhua [China]
5 September 2009

Chinese medical experts examine Urumqi syringe attacks victims

URUMQI, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese military medical experts on Saturday said that it was too early to say victims in recent syringe attacks in Urumqi City had contracted diseases related to radioactive substance, anthrax and toxic chemical as rumors had it. [...]
6 September 2009
China's Urumqi still edgy after officials sacked
7 September 2009
China threatens punishment for rumors in Urumqi
By Royston Chan

China Daily
9 September 2009

Syringe attacks persist in Urumqi

URUMQI: Police said they received 77 reports of syringe attacks between 5 pm Sunday and 5 pm Monday in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, despite authorities warning attackers they might face the death penalty. [...]
China Daily
11 September 2009
Syringe suspects seized in Xinjiang
By Cui Jia and Cai Ke (China Daily)
The Associated Press
11 September 2009
New needle attacks reported in Chinese cities
11 September 2009
Needle attacks and rumours spread in China's Xinjiang
By Lucy Hornby
Xinhua [China]
11 September 2009
Xinjiang hospital offers psychological counselling for needle attack victims
The Times [London]
11 September 2009
Panic over syringe stabbings spreads to Beijing
Jane Macartney, China Correspondent
Xinhua [China]
12 September 2009
Suspects sentenced over needle attacks in Urumqi
Xinhua [China]
13 September 2009
Tests find no infections in Xinjiang needle attack victims
Xinhua [China]
Xinhua [China]
17 September 2009
Four sentenced over syringe attack in Urumqi

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Sandpaper Man

Eleanor Wachs, Crime-victim Stories: New York City's Urban Folklore (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1988), p. 36.

[This account comes from a female social worker from Brooklyn, who insisted that it was true. -- bc]

She's a very articulate woman -- when she went blind four years ago, she really got herself together. She's very independent -- she's totally blind, but she is mobile. She gets around, does what she has to do. She went through a bad depression, except nothing stops her. She took mobility training, and she's independently strong -- very wonderful woman. And she's really a kind, generous woman. She went home from the agency, and then the doorbell rang. And she has a chain on her door, and she just opened the door. Someone said it was a messenger or something, and she didn't really question it. She opened the door -- this guy grabbed her entire arm and took sandpaper and just started scratching her entire arm up and down. And he told her to break the chain or he's gonna ruin her arm with this sandpaper. And she just tried as much as she could not to present herself as a victim, you know, the idea that you can't be hurt, or that you can't be treated as a victim if you don't present yourself like a victim. So what she did was she grabbed the guy's arm and said, "You have no right treating me like this! Who the hell do you think you are?" She grabbed his hand, and with all her energy she took his fingers with all her strength and broke them all -- all his fingers broke like spaghetti. And he ran off. She called the cops. And they picked him up a few hours later because he went to an emergency room in a hospital because he had five broken fingers. She refused to be a victim.