Sunday, February 28, 2010

Woman Gives Beggar Money, Grows Fur (Tanzania)

The Daily News [Dar es Salaam, Tanzania]
23 February 2010

Beggars condemn woman-cat rumours


RUMOURS circulating in Dar es Salaam about a woman said to have disappeared mysteriously after giving alms to a beggar at Salender Bridge in the city has brought mayhem to some beggars and the disabled, saying it has robbed them of their daily bread. [...]

One week ago it was reported that a beggar at Salender Bridge asked for money from a woman who was in a car and after she gave him money her hands grew hairs like a cat and could not drive her car.

It was further alleged that the beggar asked the woman to step out of his car and kiss him so that her hand could return to normal but immediately after the woman fulfilled what she was asked to do, she and the beggar disappeared into thin air. [...]

The East African [Kenya]
1 March 2010

Too many beggars on the streets? Don’t drown them, give them loans


A rumour that has been doing the rounds in Dar es Salaam for a couple of weeks now, has had the strangest effect on the city’s life. [...]

The effect was interesting — the number of beggars in the Dar streets fell sharply.

Women beggars stayed on, however, on the assumption that it was their male colleagues who had a problem.

Then Part B of the rumour started — that the male beggars are disguising themselves as women. [...]

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Wrong Portmanteau


Richard Pike, ed., Railway Adventures and Anecdotes, third edition (London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co., 1888), p. 130.


An English traveller in Germany entered a first-class carriage in which there was only one seat vacant, a middle one. A corner seat was occupied by a German, who evidently had placed his portmanteau on the opposite one — at least the traveller suspected that this was the case. The latter asked, “Is this seat engaged?” “Yes,” was the reply. When the time for the departure of the train had almost arrived, the Englishman said, “Your friend is going to miss the train, if he is not quick.” “Oh, that is all right. I’ll keep it for him.” Soon the signal came and the train started, when the passenger seized the portmanteau, and threw it out of the window, exclaiming, “He’s missed his train but he mustn’t lose his baggage!” That portmanteau was the German’s.

Train Tunnel Stories


Richard Pike, ed., Railway Adventures and Anecdotes, third edition (London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co., 1888).


We cannot help repeating a narrative which we heard on one occasion, told with infinite gravity by a clergyman whose name we at once inquired about, and of whom we shall only say, that he is one of the worthiest and best sons of the kirk, and knows when to be serious as well as when to jest. “Don’t tell me,” said he to a simple-looking Highland brother, who had apparently made his first trial of railway travelling in coming up to the Assembly — “don’t tell me that tunnels on railways are an unmitigated evil: they serve high moral and ├Žsthetical purposes. Only the other day I got into a railway carriage, and I had hardly taken my seat, when the train started. On looking up, I saw sitting opposite to me two of the most rabid dissenters in Scotland. I felt at once that there could be no pleasure for me in that journey, and with gloomy heart and countenance I leaned back in my corner. But all at once we plunged into a deep tunnel, black as night, and when we emerged at the other end, my brow was clear and my ill-humour was entirely dissipated. Shall I tell you how this came to be? All the way through the tunnel I was shaking my fists in the dissenters’ faces, and making horrible mouths at them, and that relieved me, and set me all right. Don’t speak against tunnels again, my dear friend.” — Fraser’s Magazine. [Pp. 126-7]


On one of the seats in a railway train was a married lady with a little daughter; opposite, facing them, was another child, a son, and a coloured “lady” with a baby. The mother of these children was a beautiful matron with sparkling eyes, in exuberant health and vivacious spirits. Near her sat a young lieutenant, dressed to kill and seeking a victim. He scraped up an acquaintance with the mother by attentions to the children. It was not long before he was essaying to make himself very agreeable to her, and by the time the sun began to decline, one would have thought they were old familiar friends. The lieutenant felt that he had made an impression — his elation manifested it. The lady, dreaming of no wrong, suspecting no evil, was apparently pleased with her casual acquaintance. By-and-by the train approached a tunnel. The gay lieutenant leaned over and whispered something in the lady’s ear. It was noticed that she appeared as thunderstruck, and her eyes immediately flamed with indignation. A moment more and a smile lighted up her features. What changes? That smile was not one of pleasure, but was sinister. It was unperceived by the lieutenant. She made him a reply which apparently rejoiced him very much. For the understanding properly this narrative, we must tell the reader what was whispered and what was replied. “I mean to kiss you when we get into the tunnel!” whispered the lieutenant. “It will be dark; who will see it?” replied the lady. Into earth’s bowels — into the tunnel ran the train. Lady and coloured nurse quickly change seats. Gay lieutenant threw his arms around the lady sable, pressed her cheek to his, and fast and furious rained kisses on her lips. In a few moments the train came out into broad daylight. White lady looked amazed — coloured lady, bashful, blushing — gay lieutenant befogged. “Jane,” said the white lady, “what have you been doing?” “Nothing!” responded the coloured lady. “Yes, you have,” said the white lady, not in an undertone, but in a voice that attracted the attention of all in the carriage. “See how your collar is rumpled and your bonnet smashed.” Jane, poor coloured beauty, hung her head for a moment, the “observed of all observers,” and then, turning round to the lieutenant, replied: “This man kissed me in the tunnel!” Loud and long was the laugh that followed among the passengers. The white lady enjoyed the joke amazingly. Lieutenant looked like a sheep-stealing dog, left the carriage at the next station, and was seen no more. — Cape Argus. [Pp. 256-7]

[Thomas Edison's one-minute film What Happened in the Tunnel (1903) is similarly racist. -- bc]


An incident has occurred on one of the suburban lines which will certainly be supposed by many to be only ben trovato, but it is a real fact. A lady, who seemed perfectly well before the train entered a tunnel, suddenly alarmed her fellow-passengers during the temporary darkness by exclaiming, “I am poisoned!” On re-emerging into daylight, an awkward explanation ensued. The lady carried with her two bottles, one of methylated spirit, the other of cognac. Wishing, presumably, for a refresher on the sly, she took advantage of the gloom; but she applied the wrong bottle to her lips. Time pressed, and she took a good drain. The consequence was she was nearly poisoned, and had to apply herself honestly and openly to the brandy bottle as a corrective, amidst the ironical condolence of the passengers she had previously alarmed. -- Once a Week. [P. 262]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Saudi Women Working As Maids in Qatar

Arab News
23 February 2010

Saudi women not working as maids in Qatar


JEDDAH: The Qatari Embassy in Riyadh has denied Saudi women are working as maids in Qatar.

[...] Saudi women in different forums have also expressed anger at the reports, adding that this was simply a way to humiliate Saudi women and spread rumors about them. [...]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

John Brown House Slave Tunnels

The Providence Journal [RI]
21 February 2010

John Brown House ‘slave tunnels’: Fact or fantasy?

By Paul Davis
Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — For more than 100 years, Rhode Islanders have wondered: Did businessman John Brown use tunnels to transport slaves from the waterfront to his home? [...]

Friday, February 19, 2010

License Plate Lure (South Africa)

The Independent [South Africa]
19 February 2010

Hijackers 'trick victims with number plates'

By Thandi Skade

If your number plates are being flashed to you from another car, resist the urge to stop - they might be hijackers.

According to an e-mail doing the rounds, hijackers are removing motorists' number plates in an attempt to get them out of their cars. [...]

Cholera Caused by Powders (Mozambique)
19 February 2010

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

Mozambique: Seven Deaths in Cholera Violence in Zambezia

Maputo — Seven people have died in disturbances caused by disinformation about the spread of cholera in the central Mozambican district of Gurue, in Zambezia province, reports the Beira daily paper "Diario de Mocambique".

The rumour has been spread that health workers and traditional leaders, far from fighting cholera, are spreading the disease. [...]

[They spread a white powder in public places, and anyone who steps in it contracts the disease. Many schools have shut down because teachers and students alike fear coming in contact with the mysterious powder.]
17 February 2010

Mozambique: Crowd Defends Cholera Riot

[...] [A wounded rioter] claimed that health activists carry "blue flasks" which contain cholera, and in the health centre "we found two blue flasks of cholera and these would have been distributed to activists".

"Diario de Mocambique" carries a photograph of one of these "blue flasks" - which is in fact a bottle of the water purifier sold under the commercial name "certeza" ("certainty"), easily available in shops throughout the country, and advertised on national television.

Government Cabs Used in Kidnappings (Nigeria)
18 February 2010

Daily Independent (Lagos)

Nigeria: Oyo Denies Kidnap Rumour With Govt Cabs

Oladele Ogunsola

Ibadan — Oyo State Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Poverty Alleviation, AbdulJeleel Kehinde Agboola, has debunked the rumour that the recently introduced new cabs by the administration were being used to kidnap people for rituals to aid the fulfillment of the second term ambition of Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala. [...]

The Punch [Nigeria]
3 April 2010

Oyo govt, police criticise rumours on corporate taxis


[...] He also dismissed the claim that the cabs were used by state agents to kidnap unsuspecting members of the public for ritual purposes.

Agboola said, ”Those who are going about to make cheap allegations against Akala are enemies of progress. That is a lie now. Go to the Police. There has never been a single report with the Police. If someone would use a cab to kidnap would it be wise to paint it in state government colour and with Akala‘s picture? They are blackmailers. We have challenged them to mention even just one case of kidnap.” [...]

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Harvesting Haitian Organs
26 January 2010
Focus on Israel: Harvesting Haitian Organs
by Stephen Lendman

The Jewish Chronicle [London, UK]
11 February 2010

Tonge: Investigate IDF stealing organs in Haiti

By Simon Rocker and Martin Bright

Baroness Tonge, the Liberal peer, said this week that Israel should set up an inquiry to disprove allegations that its medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims for use in transplants. [...]

The Associated Press
14 February 2010

UK lawmaker fired for anti-Israel comments

LONDON — A British lawmaker was fired from her job as her party's health spokeswoman after she said that there should be a probe into claims that Israeli relief workers were harvesting organs in Haiti.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said Jenny Tonge was dismissed from the role for her "unacceptable" comments. [...]
Jerusalem Post
14 February 2010
'Haiti organ harvesting claims false'
Baroness Tonge sacked after accusing Israel of exploiting victims.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Missing Swans (Bridgwater, UK)

This is The West Country [UK]
5 February 2010

The mysterious case of Bridgwater's missing swans

By David Hemming

A FAMILY of popular swans have mysteriously vanished from Bridgwater's docklands area with rumours circulating they have been killed and eaten. [...]

[See also some earlier reports of disappearing swans.]

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Organ Theft Rumors (Turkey)

The National [UAE]
3 February 2010

‘Organ snatcher’ fears over rash of child abductions in Turkey

Thomas Seibert, Foreign Correspondent

Attempt to Kill Christians by Poisoning Food (Nigeria)

Vanguard [Nigeria]
3 February 2010

Hausa traders deny rumour of food poisoning in P-Harcourt

By George Onah

Port-Harcourt — Hausa traders in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, have complained about series of “wicked and damaging text messages” making the rounds to the effect that Hausa traders planned to poison suya, carrots and green peas to kill Christians. [...]

Breast Implants of Death

1 February 2010

MI5 hunting breast implants of death
Authorities alarmed by possibility of surgically placed bombs

LONDON - Agents for Britain's MI5 intelligence service have discovered that Muslim doctors trained at some of Britain's leading teaching hospitals have returned to their own countries to fit surgical implants filled with explosives [....]
New York Post
1 February 2010
Qaeda's surgical strike: Breast & butt bombs
The Sun [UK]
23 March 2010
Radicals' deadly 'booby trap'
The Daily Telegraph [UK]
24 March 2010
Terrorists 'could use exploding breast implants to blow up jet'
Breast-implants packed with explosives could be used by terrorists to blow up an airliner, experts have reportedly warned.
By Heidi Blake
27 March 2010
About that exploding breast-implant story
Farah reveals all about his non-quote that went around the world

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

School Principal's Letter

The Arizona Republic [Phoenix, AZ]
2 February 2010

'Joke' letter from principal sent to parents
Principal on administrative leave; parents angered

A fake letter to parents of Litchfield Elementary School sent as a joke from the principal to teachers last week found its way home to some parents, but few are finding the punchline funny.

Principal Ron Sterr distributed a fake letter heavy on hyperbole and sarcasm to teachers but addressed to parents mocking students who could not complete their "easy" math assignment. The letter was passed out to teachers as a joke, but a second-grade teacher who received it in an e-mail thought it was a real letter and sent it home to the parents. [...]