Saturday, January 30, 2010

Acid Rain Rumors (India)

Times of India
30 January 2010

Acid rain rumours unfounded

CHENNAI: Rumours of impending acid rain in the city, which did the rounds via text messages, are unfounded, said Met officials and academics. The forwarded message claimed that acid rain could occur due to formation of a black ring around the moon on January 17. [...]

Carbon Paper Still Has Its Uses

The Capital [Annapolis, MD]
30 January 2010

Customs agents seize 7 pounds of heroin during BWI search
Baltimore man tried to mask drugs by wrapping in carbon paper

By ALLISON BOURG, Staff Writer

[Suleiman Zakaria was arrested at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport after heroin was discovered in his suitcase. The heroin was wrapped in carbon paper, apparently to make it undetectable by X-rays.]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Soldier Refused Service (Montana)

KMBC-TV [Kansas City, MO]
27 January 2010

Facebook Rumor Hits Gas Station Owner
Businessman Fights Back Against Anonymous Posting

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- It started as a post on Facebook – a story that a man who runs a gas station in Excelsior Springs refused to sell to a person in the military. [...]

[Peter Patel, operator of the BP Quick Corner station, is victimized by a false rumor that he refused to service a customer, saying "You are killing my people."]

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bottomless Lakes

Charles Fort Institute
22 January 2010

'The lake that has no bottom...'

Mike Dash

Decapitated Teacher

Sydney Morning Herald
25 January 2010

Column 8

Appliance safety, and how a good story can only get better: ''Seeing your item regarding warning notices for ceiling fans reminded me of a time some years ago when my children came home from high school saying a teacher had been decapitated by a ceiling fan,'' writes Peter Pocock of Hornsby (Column 8, Thursday). ''As I knew the teacher in question I thought I'd better call and see if his head was still attached. He was still alive, but he'd had to go to hospital for stitches - obviously he didn't read those directions as he stood on a chair to open a window, not noticing the fan. His blood was sprayed and he received a nasty cut, but the way rumours work it became a decapitation. By the next day the story ran that he was still speaking as his head rolled across the classroom floor."

Bikers Respond to Animal Rights Activists

The Tribune-Democrat [Johnstown, PA]
24 January 2010

This hog tale had no substance


You might have heard about it, but if you didn’t, here’s the gist:

Bikers at Thunder in the Valley, more than a little offended at the actions of some animal rights activists, duct-taped the offenders to a Dumpster at a fast-food restaurant and (horrors!) force-fed them hamburgers! [...]

[The story, which first appeared on The Spoof, a website featuring fake news stories, was picked up by other websites and generated "dozens of inquiries" by callers to the Tribune-Democrat's newsroom.]
The Spoof
3 January 2010
Three Reported Missing After Animal Rights Activists Take "War on Leather" to Motorcycle Gang Rally.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pharm Parties

21 January 2010

Still More Pharm-Party Phoolishness
The meme lives!

By Jack Shafer

I regret to inform you that this column has failed to eradicate the "pharm party" meme. Since June 2006, I've written five columns ( June 15, 2006; June 19, 2006; March 25, 2008; March 26, 2008; and March 23, 2009) debunking pharm parties, and yet the press keeps on churning out stories that pretend the events are both real and ubiquitous. [...]

Sony Timer Breaks Product When Warranty Expires

The Daily Telegraph [UK]
22 January 2010

The myth of the Sony 'kill switch'

In Japan, a surprising number of consumers really do claim to believe that Sony products are programmed to break as soon as the warranty expires.

By Hunter Skipworth

Gangs Use Child Seat Lure

The Fayetteville Observer [NC]
22 January 2010

E-mail about alleged gang-related threat is said to be fake

CLINTON - An e-mail purportedly sent out by a Sampson County deputy warning of a new gang-related threat is fake. [...]

[The e-mail, claiming to be sent by Sgt. Robert Stroud, says a gang practice is to put a child's seat on the roadside to lure women out of their cars. Any woman who stops to examine the seat is raped and attacked.]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Missing Genitals (Nigeria)
18 January 2010

Daily Independent (Lagos)

Nigeria: Missing Genitals - How I Was Framed - OPC Leader

Gbenga Abegunrin

Ibadan — Chairman of O'odua Peoples Congress (OPC) in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State, Muritala Adekola Ifawale, has explained his involvement in the disappearance of a woman alleged to have used charms to remove the genitals (manhood) of an Okada rider (commercial motorcyclist) plying Omi-Adio area, Ibadan. [...]

Monday, January 18, 2010

Earthquake Panic (Ghana)

BBC News [UK]
18 January 2010

Ghana text hoax predicting earthquake prompts panic

["Today's night 12:30 to 3:30am COSMO RAYS entering earth from Mars. Switch off ur mobiles today's night.?NASA BBC NEWS ? Plz pass to all ur friends." This text message was interpreted by many Ghanaians as a warning against an impending earthquake. See also this earlier item from India.]
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
18 January 2010
Earthquake rumour spread throughout Ghana
18 January 2010
Earthquake rumour shakes Brong-Ahafo Region
The Daily Graphic [Ghana]
19 January 2010
Quake Hoax - Nation Forced To Keep Vigil
19 January 2010
A tale of all-night long in Ghana
By Stephen Yeboah

The Statesman [Ghana]
18 January 2010

Koforidua not left out of earthquake scare

Ghana News Agency

[...] A trader, Adwoa Afriyie, told GNA that she had information around 2300 hours from her daughter at Aburi Presbyterian Training College that disaster was looming so all should switch off their mobile phones.

She said she quickly switched off her mobile phone but around 02.00 hours she heard noisy people moving from their rooms and she came out only to be told there was a looming earthquake therefore people should run to safety. [...]
Ghana News Agency
3 February 2010
The text message that robbed Ghanaians of sleep
by Nana Kodjo Jehu-Appiah

Friday, January 15, 2010

AIDS Mary Hoax (Detroit)

The Detroit News
15 January 2010

Video of woman who claims to have spread AIDS stirs panic

Oralandar Brand-Williams / The Detroit News

Detroit -- A viral video of a woman claiming to have intentionally infected several Metro Detroit men with the virus that causes AIDS has prompted frantic phone calls to the Detroit Police Department. [...]

The Detroit News
15 January 2010

AIDS video a hoax, woman admits

Oralandar Brand-Williams / The Detroit News

Detroit -- The woman who caused a stir on the Internet this week with a video in which she says she has infected more than 500 people with HIV told The Detroit News today that she does not have the virus.

"I don't have AIDS," Jackie Braxton, 23, said in an interview. [...]

The Detroit Free Press
15 January 2010
Woman: AIDS video hoax meant to be public service

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kill a Tourist Day (South Africa)
Daily Mail [UK]
10 January 2010
Victoria Smurfit: 'It was kill a tourist day - and we were in the way'
By Victoria Smurfit
Daily Mail [UK]
11 January 2010
Ballykissangel star Victoria Smurfit shot at on 'Kill a Tourist Day' in South Africa
By James Tapper, Mail on Sunday Showbusiness Reporter
The Independent [South Africa]
11 January 2010
Cops baffled by actress' account of shooting
Quinton Mtyala
The Independent [South Africa]
12 January 2010
'No such thing as Kill A Tourist Day'
By Thandanani Mhlanga

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monkey Brains

The Jakarta Globe
11 January 2010

Take a Bite on the Wild Side

Marcel Thee

[The food stalls lining the main road of Mangga Besar in West Jakarta offer a diverse range of meats, including monkey. All the cooks and vendors there that the reporter questioned said the practice of eating the brains of live monkeys no longer occurs. One food stall owner was quite happy to recount how monkey brains were served "back in the day."]

“The monkeys are strapped into a wooden cage, where their heads pop out of a hole about the size of their neck [so that their heads are secured in position]. The cooks bring them out and either cuts the top part of their head in half, or drills a hole in it, so that the brain is exposed.”

That made my stomach turn, but I bravely continued and asked him how the monkey brain was served.

He said that sometimes the cook would scoop out the brain onto a plate and mix it with strong wine or herbs to hide the smell. But there was also another, even more grotesque, method.

“The cook pours some wine onto the brain, and then you take a straw and suck out the brain juices.”

He eagerly noted that while all of this happened, the monkey retains consciousness as it dies slowly.

It is worth mentioning, however, that this description of serving monkey brains seems very close to the urban legends promulgated by depictions in popular culture, with films such as “Indiana Jones” portraying it on screen. [...]

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mountain Lions Intentionally Released (Oklahoma)

The Oklahoman [Oklahoma, OK]
10 January 2010

Belief that mountain lions are released into woods to kill deer doesn't make sense

By Ed Godfrey
The Oklahoman

Where did this rumor get started that the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation intentionally releases mountain lions to roam free in the state to control the deer population? [...]
The Oklahoman [Oklahoma City, OK]
5 January 2010
Trail camera near Atoka snaps a mountain lion

[Two reader comments.]

[...] When I was a kid there were the rumors that a circus train had derailed somewhere here in SW OK and that some big cats had escaped [including a black panther] and that they had eventualy breeded with the native wild cats.
David, Altus - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:27 am

[...] I have heard a story for years that a "circus train" crashed between Shawnee and Seminole and all the cats got loose and set up housekeeping out there. Not believeable, but an interesting story nonetheless. [...]
Paula, yukon 73099 - Jan 5, 2010 at 11:57 am