Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Candy (2009)

WLBT-TV [Jackson, MS]
30 October 2009

Mid-South father found blades in bag of candy

CORDOVA, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South father says he thought it was just an urban myth before he found razor blades inside a package of Kit Kat bars purchased at Wal-mart.

Zach Bourneman says his son wanted to dip into the Halloween candy a little early. But Bourneman received a scare when he opened the bag of treats. Inside the bag of miniature Kit Kat bars, he found two box-cutter blades wrapped in cellophane tape. [...]

Globe and Mail [Toronto, ON]
1 November 2009

Parents find razor blades, needle in Halloween loot

Toronto — Globe and Mail Update and The Canadian Press

Toronto Police are warning parents to take a closer look at their child's Halloween treats after a North York family discovered a razor blade in a loot bag. [...]

The Record [Cambridge, ON]
1 November 2009

Syringe found in Halloween bag in Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE — Parents are being asked to check through Halloween candy after a girl brought home a syringe in her trick-or-treat bag. [...] [ON]
1 November 2009

Needle found in Halloween candy

WHITBY -- Halloween was a lot scarier for a local family after a parent found a needle in a piece of Halloween candy last night. [...]

Grand Forks Herald [ND]
1 November 2009

GF resident reports needle in Halloween candy

By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald

An officer from the Grand Forks Police Department took a complaint today from a citizen who said he was stuck by a sewing needle when eating his child’s Halloween candy, according to a news release. [...]

The Chronicle-Herald [Halifax, NS]
1 November 2009

N.S. mom finds razor blade in apple
Police warn parents to inspect candy


MELVERN SQUARE — RCMP are reminding parents to inspect their children's Halloween loot after a Nova Scotia woman discovered a scary surprise in her child's treats.

The Annapolis County woman told police she found a razor blade hidden within an apple that her child received Saturday night. [...]

WBNS-TV [Columbus, OH]
31 October 2009

Pill Found In Child's Halloween Candy

ALEXANDRIA, Ohio — A parent reported to police that she found a prescription pill after her child went trick-or-treating, 10TV's Brittany Westbrook reported. [...]

The family claimed that the pill was pressed inside the cream-filled center. [...]

The Sudbury Star [ON]
2 November 2009

Halloween treat in New Sudbury contained a piece of glass

Greater Sudbury Police are asking the public to double check their kids' Halloween treats after a piece of glass turned up in a treat bag in New Sudbury Saturday night. [...]

Granite Bay View [CA]
3 November 2009

Hypodermic needle found in kid's candy bag
Police investigating incident

Nathan Donato-Weinstein

[...] Roseville residents in one neighborhood are being urged to check their children's Halloween candy after a trick-or-treater reportedly found a hypodermic needle in his bag of loot. [...],0,2845963.story

KFOR-TV [Oklahoma City]
3 November 2009

Tack in candy

Russell Carter Reporting

EDMOND, OK -- An Edmond woman is upset after her eight-year-old nephew made a shocking discovery inside of his Halloween candy. According to Amy Gullett, someone stuffed a full size tack inside of a candy pumpkin and then placed it in her nephew's bag. Luckily he didn't eat it. [...] [Halifax, NS]
3 November 2009

Cape Breton Police investigating after pin found in kid's Halloween candy bar

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Helicopters Carrying Taliban Fighters (Afghanistan)

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Helicopter Rumour Refuses to Die
Many Afghans believe foreign forces providing support for insurgents in the north.

By Ahmad Kawoosh in Mazar-e-Sharif (ARR No. 343, 26-Oct-09)

Persistent accounts of western forces in Afghanistan using their helicopters to ferry Taleban fighters, strongly denied by the military, is feeding mistrust of the forces that are supposed to be bringing order to the country. [...]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Animal Shelter Mass Euthanasia

The Southampton Press [NY]
27 October 2009

Animal shelter supervisor dispels rumors, focuses on adoptions

By Bryan Finlayson

The Town of Southampton Animal Shelter was deluged with phone calls last Thursday following the spread of an internet rumor that the facility was going to euthanize all of its 130 cats and 30 dogs within seven days. [...]

[The shelter's assistant supervisor complained that of the hundreds of people who called expressing concern about the rumor, not one was willing to adopt an animal.]

Baby Boom: Missouri, 2009

Southeast Missourian
27 October 2009

Baby boom?: Winter ice storm might be causing uptick in births in coming weeks

By Michelle Felter - Standard Democrat

SIKESTON, Mo. -- It's been nine months since ice storms crippled Southeast Missouri, leaving many without electricity for days.

But things were apparently still heating up in some homes, as local hospitals are expecting an increase in births over the next few weeks. [...]

Golf Ball Crisps

BBC News Magazine
23 October 2009

In praise of scepticism

Clive James

[In his essay on skepticism and gullibility, James reveals that sometimes errant golf balls, mechanically harvested along with potatoes, are turned into potato crisps (or chips, as we say in North America).

[...] Apparently a golf ball yields precisely 18 slices. All 18 slices of the golf ball, along with the thousands of slices of potato, go into the cooking process and emerge at the other end as something hard to distinguish, visually, from crisps. [...]

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Korans Desecrated (Afghanistan),0,2243260.story

Los Angeles Times
25 October 2009

Afghans protest rumored desecration of Koran by U.S. troops

By Laura King

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan - Hundreds of angry protesters in Afghanistan's capital today burned an effigy of President Obama, acting on rumors that American troops had desecrated the Koran.

U.S. military officials emphatically denied that any copies of the Muslim holy book had been mishandled, and accused the Taliban of spreading falsehoods to incite hatred against Western forces. [...]

Cannibal Rumors (South Africa)

The Witness [South Africa]
24 October 2009

E-mail causes ‘cannibal’ scare

Sharlene Packree

CANNIBALS, missing people, decomposing bodies with missing organs … While this sounds like a good horror movie, these are in fact the contents of a hoax e-mail that is causing hysteria among residents in Phoenix and Verulam, north of Durban. [...]

Times Live [South Africa]
24 October 2009

'Cannibals' rumour sparks fear in Durbs

By Corrinne Louw

Hundreds of concerned Phoenix, Verulam and Inanda residents were conned this week by a hoax e-mail and reports of a "black magic cannibal".

News of a "half-human, half-animal thing" circulated in schools, shops and businesses after hundreds of people descended on the Amaoti police station in Inanda last Sunday to enquire about two alleged cannibals. [...]

Monday, October 19, 2009


Sydney Morning Herald
20 October 2009

Column 8

''Reading your paragraph giving the derivation of platypus as 'flat foot' took me back to Canberra in the 1960s,'' writes Laurie Malone, of Bilgola (Column 8, Friday). ''With the opening of Lake Burley Griffin, the ACT police decided they should have water police like all the other police forces. So a water police station was set up, water police appointed and a water police boat purchased. The police authorities decided the boat should have an appropriate name. So they approached a professor of classics at ANU for a name. They were a little surprised and a little disappointed when he suggested 'Platypus'. They were expecting a more classical name but accepted, thinking that the name of an Australian water-loving animal was OK, if a little pedestrian. It was many years before the penny finally dropped.'' [...]

Canberra Times
20 April 2004

Flat chat on course for a boat's name

IT'S 40 YEARS this month since April showers swelled the hitherto modestly babbling Molonglo into a river big enough to fill Lake Burley Griffin for the first time. A reader who read last weekend's Our Great Lake supplement in this paper with its story about the Water Police is reminded of another tale. The Water Police story mentioned the first police launch, the Platypus.

''Mine is a tale which certainly had currency in ANU circles at the time, though whether or not apocryphal I cannot say,'' the reader writes. ''The then ACT Police Commissioner or other some such exalted officer was casting around for an appropriate name for the first police launch and, encountering at a function one night the then Master of University House, the erudite Emeritus Professor A.D. Trendall, sought his assistance. Trendall suggested the name Platypus. With occasional sightings of this creature in the Molonglo, so recently replaced by the lake, the name seemed eminently suitable and so was adopted for the vessel and for its successor.

''The commissioner may not have realised at the time that, before his appointment as Master, Dale Trendall was a much respected Greek scholar and with something of a sense of humour - 'platypus' derives from the Greek, 'platypous', meaning flat-footed.'' [...]
Australian Federal Police
AFP Emblem – The platypus

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Unverified Mountain Lion Sightings

Wall Street Journal
15 October 2009, p. A1

There's Nothing So Rare as a Cougar in Missouri
Still, Many Sightings Reported; Mistaking Tabby for a Mountain Lion


[...] Apocryphal big cats, on the other hand, are infesting the heartland faster than ever, thanks to a combination of mistaken sightings and deliberate hoaxes -- and the tendency of the Internet to magnify assertions. [...]

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gang Initiation: Killing Women

The Star-Ledger [NJ]
15 October 2009

Text messages sent to Elizabeth, Newark students about rumored gang initiation considered a hoax

By James Queally/The Star-Ledger

The ominous text message recently sent to dozens of high school students in Newark and Elizabeth sounded plausible -- as well as deadly.

"Oct. 21st starts gang initiation week they are rumored to try to kill 140 Woman.PLZ FORWARD This can save our women!" reads the foreboding text.

The fear-mongering messages convincingly refer to a gang initiation rite called "Red October," when prospective Bloods kill to earn their gang stripes. [...]

New York Daily News
20 October 2009

Cops vigilant for potential gang slashings

BY Rocco Parascandola

Cops across the city are on alert for a Bloods initiation drive that calls for 145 slashings, police sources said Monday. [...]

CBS2 [Chicago]
21 October 2009

Police: Gang Threat Against Woman Is E-Mail Hoax
Similar Hoaxes About Gang Initiation Have Been Around For Decades

CHICAGO (CBS) ― An e-mail claiming that Chicago gang members plan to kill women as a part of initiation is a hoax, police say.

The e-mail, which has been circulating for at least the past week, claims that gang initiation starts on Wednesday, Oct. 21. The e-mail claims that gang members plan to kill 140 women in total, and that women will be targeted around the Chicago area. [...],0,3725495.story

The Hartford Courant [CT]
28 October 2009

Hartford Police Chief Says Gang Text Messages Are A Hoax


The Hartford Courant

HARTFORD - Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts says that recent e-mails, text messages and tweets regarding "a nationwide gang initiation" that targets 140 women are a "hoax." [...]

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cape Town's Passion Gap

Daily Telegraph [UK]
7 October 2009

Cape Town's passion gap: sexual myth or fashion victimhood?

Dental modification is a teenage rite of passage for some in Cape Town - one that has been around for 60 years.

By Fran Blandy in Cape Town

[...] One of the most enduring images of mixed-race South Africans known as coloureds is the frequent absence of their front teeth, a mystery to many but popularly believed to facilitate oral sex.

This sexual myth - not borne out by research - has seen the trend referred to as the "Passion Gap" or the "Cape Flats smile", after a populous neighbourhood. [...]

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Organ Theft Rumors (Uzbekistan)

9 October 2009

Hunt for children’s organs rumours dreading Tashkent – Rumours about the killings of children by a group of unidentified individuals in residential areas to remove their organs have been dreading residents of Tashkent for the past two weeks. [...]

An official of the Uzbek Prosecutor-General’s Office who asked not to name him said that a group of criminals had been killing people to take their organs in the capital. They sell these organs in Western countries, he suggested. [...]

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blimp Spies on Women (Afghanistan)
7 October 2009

Giant blimp has Kandaharis on edge.

By Bruce Ward, Canwest News Service

KANDAHAR CITY, Afghanistan - There's a giant blimp, white with three tail fins, hanging over the city these days and it's causing a stir among Kandaharis who believe the Americans are using it to spy on them.

And it could be they're right.

``Many people believe it's a spy blimp that can see through walls to look at our women,'' said Ghulam Ghami, a local fixer attuned to the buzz in coffee shops and kebab stands. [...]

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

American Tourist Takes Stamps Overseas

Sydney Morning Herald
8 October 2009

Column 8

[...] "When my wife and I were on a Danube cruise from Germany to Romania a few years ago," writes Jim Hunt of Running Stream, "we would spend time in a series of countries for a day or so. One of our American fellow travellers observed that she knew from past experience the hassle of changing money into the local currency to buy postcards and stamps to send home. However, on this trip she had overcome the problem 'by bringing plenty of American stamps from home'." [...]

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stolen Hair Used in Axis Bomb-Sights (1942 Rumor)

Theo Paijmans, "The Phantom Barber of Pascagoula." Fortean Times #254 (November 2009), pp. 30-1.

[In 1942 citizens of Pascagoula, Mississippi, were alarmed by reports that an unknown assailant was breaking into homes and cutting the hair of the occupants while they slept. Some people suggested that the "phantom barber" was actually a "Fifth Columnist, working to collect hair for Axis bomb-sights" ("Steals Their Hair While They Sleep[:] Strange Exploits of the Phantom Barber," San Antonio (Texas) Light, 30 August 1942). A man arrested for using an iron bar to batter a couple in their bedroom was also accused of being the phantom barber, which he may have very well been. He also happened to have a connection to Germany. -- bc]

Evening Tribune (Marysville, Ohio), 14 August 1942, pp. 1, 3.

"Phantom Barber" Caught After Intensive Search

PASCAGOULA, Miss., Aug. 14 -- Police Chief A. W. Ezell claimed today that "the phantom barber" who broke into at least 10 homes to cut the hair of the sleeping occupants is William A. Dolan, 57, a German educated chemist.

Dolan, Ezell announced, has been in jail for three weeks and is charged with attempted murder. His motivation, Ezell charged, was to impair the morale of war workers. [...]

Ezell and Morris Talley, Pinkerton detective who was worked on the case for six weeks, said several persons had signed statements that Dolan had expressed sympathy for Germany.