Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Playboy, July 1968, p. 19


A usually reliable informant from down under writes that not long ago, a fellow Aussie returned to his parked car and found the fender badly crumpled. Thoroughly piqued, he looked about and spotted a note on the window, requesting that he call the number listed for appropriate compensation. Rushing to a phone, he called and listened as a recorded voice answered: "Welcome to your Dial-A-Prayer service."

Avalanche-Journal [Lubbock, Texas], 22 August 1971, p. E3


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (WNS) -- Elsa Krekels, 34, returned to her parked car to find two fenders badly dented and two notes with telephone numbers under her windshield wiper. She called the first number and got a "Dial A Prayer" sermon. Then she called the second number and got a body repairman who offered to repair the fenders for a proper fee

Reading Eagle [PA], 9 April 1974, p. 5.

Wives criticize husbands more than the reverse

L.M. Boyd [syndicated columnist]

[...] A southern California lady reports she returned to the parking lot to find a front fender on her car all bashed in. A note with a telephone number under the windshield wiper. She called. It was "Dial a Prayer." [...]

Jet, 27 Nov. 1975, p. 28


When the man returned to his car in a governmental parking lot in Santa Cruz, Calif., and found his front bender mangled, he did a slow burn. But he was relieved to see a piece of paper under his windshield wiper. It was a note of apology for the accident and a phone number to call. Gingerly, the man called the number. Alas, it was Dial-A-Prayer.

The 27 Club (BMJ article)

British Medical Journal
BMJ 2011; 343 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d7799 (Published 20 December 2011)

Christmas 2011: Death’s Dominion
Is 27 really a dangerous age for famous musicians? Retrospective cohort study

Martin Wolkewitz, Arthur Allignol, Nicholas Graves, Adrian G Barnett


Objective To test the “27 club” hypothesis that famous musicians are at an increased risk of death at age 27.


Conclusions The 27 club is unlikely to be a real phenomenon. Fame may increase the risk of death among musicians, but this risk is not limited to age 27.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Anna Hazare, Supporters Threatened with Needle Attacks

Times of India
19 December 2011

Anna Hazare threatened with HIV+ needles in anonymous letter, FIR lodged

NEW DELHI: Last week the police received a letter that threatened to inject Anna Hazare and his supporters with needles contaminated with the HIV virus. The letter said if Anna remained adamant on his Lokpal agitation, they will be attacked with the deadly virus.

The police, now beginning to take the threat seriously, have registered an FIR and begun looking for those who sent the letter. The letter states that "a needle team, which has prepared 500 HIV positive needles, would inject the virus in at least 1,000 people at the demonstration". [...]

Deccan Herald [India]
20 December 2011

HIV needle threat a prank, Team Anna

New Delhi, Dec 19, (IANS): A key Team Anna member Monday dismissed as a ''myth'' and ''rumour'' reports of a threat by an unknown ''needle group'' to prick Anna Hazare and his supporters with needles contaminated with the HIV virus. [...]

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Somali Gangs Attacking Women (Bismarck, ND)

KFYR-TV [Bismarck, ND]
9 December 2011

Bismarck Police Department Dispels Gang Rumors

Retha Colclasure

A lot of women in Bismarck may have been thinking twice about walking across a parking lot alone after a rumor that circulated throughout the city during the past week. The rumor talked about gangs of Somali men following women in parking lots to attack them. [...]

Bismarck Tribune [ND]
9 December 2011

Bismarck police say widely-circulated email is incorrect


The Bismarck Police Department wants to assure people that no organized gangs have been preying on women in parking lots in the city. [...]

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tweeting During the London Riots (2011)

The Guardian [UK]
7 December 2011

How Twitter was used to spread – and knock down – rumours during the riots
From a tiger roaming Primrose Hill to the London Eye burning, startling reports spread fast on Twitter with the ease of a click

Jonathan Richards and Paul Lewis

Rumour is a pipe blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures, wrote Shakespeare. In the age of Twitter we can now add: and by the ease of clicking "retweet".

Whether it was the tantalising possibility of a tiger padding about in Primrose Hill or army tanks gathering in the City of London, some Britons proved themselves remarkably willing to share all manner of startling reports on Twitter during the August riots, whatever their accuracy. But what is perhaps more interesting is how Twitter was also used to disprove many rumours. [...]

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pepsi Products Infected with HIV

The Star [Malaysia]
5 December 2011

Rumours of HIV-infected drinks untrue, says Pepsi

PETALING JAYA: An SMS has been circulating that Pepsi products are contaminated with HIV but Permanis Sandilands Sdn Bhd has clarified that this is a hoax.

[...] The SMS reads: “for d next few days, do not drink any product from pepsi company like pepsi, tropicana juice, slice, 7up , coca cola, etc,,as a worker from the company has added his blood contaminated with HIV. watch NDtv ...please 4ward this 2 every 1 u care about.....ok. Please note seriously.” [...]

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sleeping Gas Gang (Sardinia)

The Guardian [UK]
30 August 2011

'Sleeping gas' thieves target super-rich at Italian billionaires' resort

John Hooper in Rome

Police in the billionaires' retreat of Porto Cervo on Sardinia's Costa Smeralda believe thieves who made off with €315,000 (£280,000) in cash and jewels used sleeping gas on their victims to ensure they were not disturbed during the break-in.

Similar robberies have been reported this summer in France and Spain. [...]

The Daily Telegraph [UK]
4 September 2011

Roberto Mancini targeted by Sardinian sleeping gas gang

By Nick Pisa in Rome

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City boss, is the latest celebrity to be targeted by a gang suspected of using sleeping gas on their victims in a luxury Italian resort.

The gang -- who have hit several villas belonging to high profile wealthy Italians throughout the summer -- use gas on their victims to ensure they are not disturbed. [...]

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Prostitute Is Client's Daughter (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe News Online
27 November 2011

Bulawayo man gets shocked as his newly hired prostitute happens to be his daughter

A man in Bulawayo's Nkulumane 5 suburb got the shock of his life after a commercial sex worker he allegedly called to his hotel room turned out to be his daughter. Mr Titus Ncube is said to have collapsed while the 20-year-old daughter bolted after seeing her father. [...]

Clare without an eye

Sydney Morning Herald [Australia]
30 November 2011

Column 8

[...] ''Hospitalised as a child to have my tonsils removed,'' recalls Clare Taylor, of Cammeray, ''the local radio station came round to ask for a song request. I corrected the DJ's spelling of my name when I saw he had written it wrongly (as Claire), only to be utterly mortified when my song was announced for 'Clare without an eye'. I have never corrected anyone since!'' [...]

Special Pens Change Marks on Ballots (DRC)

RFI [France]
1 December 2011

Satan, exorcism and magic T-shirts - our favourite rumours from DRC presidential poll

By Daniel Finnan

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa is a rumour mill. No more so that during the country’s 2011 presidential elections. The Congolese are sometimes superstitious, at times moralistic and always feverish in their chatter about the latest rumour. This has only been amplified by the country’s polls. Here’s a collection of RFI’s favourite election rumours.

* The magic pen: Bring your own pen to mark the election ballot paper. The pens handed out by the electoral commission use invisible ink. Once you mark your vote and post it in the ballot box the ink will disappear in 10 minutes, making your choice useless. [...]

AIDS Infectors (Beijing) [China]
1 December 2011

HIV-infection Rumor Lead to Detention in Beijing


A man has been put under criminal detention for spreading an HIV-infection scare, police in Beijing said on Thursday.

The Beijing municipal public security bureau said in a statement that it was informed Tuesday that a Sina Weibo blogger used the service to spread an HIV-infection rumor.

The microblog said "several people have entered Beijing with needle tubes filled with the HIV virus," and "there are people who have been pricked by needles of AIDS infectors."

Beijing police authorities later confirmed the information was false and detained writer of the microblog, a man surnamed Li, on Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

No Nipple Gangs in Phuket

Phuket Gazette [Thailand]
7 November 2011

No ‘nipple gangs’ in Phuket: Police

Warisa Temram

PHUKET: Phuket police today were firm in the assertion that there are no “nipple gangs” at work in Phuket.

The news follows a report by a Chinese daily newspaper saying that Singaporean men on holiday in Phuket had been drugged by knock-out drops smeared onto women’s breasts.

Once drugged unconscious, the men were robbed, the report said. Other newspapers and websites have carried similar reports of nipplers operating here and in Pattaya. [...]

Friday, November 25, 2011

Condoms Cause Kidney Problems

Mmegi Online [Botswana]
24 November 2011

Shadishadi residents shun condoms

Staff Writer

The use of condoms in Shadishadi and neighbouring villages will take long to catch on after the residents told health workers that condoms cause kidney problems.

According to the health education officer at Shadishadi, Oshale Sesupo, there are widespread misconceptions in the area that condoms cause kidney diseases and people in the area would never use them. They believe that the 'oil' in the condoms is the root cause of their problems.

"They say their kidneys get painful after using condoms and they strongly believe it is the lubricating oil in the condoms," she said. [...]
Mmegi Online [Botswana]
25 November 2011
Debunk the condom myth in Shadishadi

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vodka-Soaked Tampons Tested

[A blogger tries out vodka-soaked tampons and is disappointed with the results.]$

Huffington Post Canada
21 November 2011

Danielle Crittenden
Managing Editor, Blogs, The Huffington Post Canada

Bartender, a Dirty Martini With a Tampon!

[...] First, anyone who tries to get drunk off a tampon deserves the punishment; it's like coughing and throwing up after trying a cigarette. That'll teach you for smoking!

Second, if there is any smidgen of effect, it's notional, and probably only psychological. Overall, vodka-in-a-tampon seems a very inefficient, not to mention unpleasant, way to get drunk. [...]

Headhunting rumour (Borneo)

The Borneo Post
22 November 2011

Headhunting rumour spreads fear among children

LIMBANG: Although there is no evidence of its existence, the public especially school children are haunted by the rumour of alleged headhunters actively seeking for prey during this school holidays.

The rumour is spreading fast among the people here and is a hot topic at coffee shops.

The often-repeated story tells of headhunters targeting children for their heads, to be kept inside bridge pillars under construction to strengthen its structure. [...]

Bananas Infected with Flesh-eating Bacteria

East Coast Radio [Durban, South Africa]
22 November 2011

Lethal banana message 'a hoax'

By Thozama Mbili

An email or a BBM that has been doing the rounds warning people not to eat bananas because they are infected with a flesh eating bacteria, is a hoax.

The message claims that several deliveries of bananas from Uvongo, on the KZN South Coast, are infected with the bacteria - which it says is potentially lethal.

It also advises that if you have eaten a banana in the past two to three days, and have come down with a fever followed by a skin infection, you must urgently seek medical attention. [...]

The Zimbabwean [UK]
1 December 2011

Mozambique: Hoax messages damage banana sellers

by AIM

Sales of bananas in Maputo have plummeted following the circulation of malicious e-mails and mobile phone text messages claiming that South African bananas are infected with a lethal bacteria.

The bananas sold in Maputo are grown in Mozambique, not South Africa --- indeed, Mozambique exports bananas to South Africa. But this has made no difference to panic-stricken consumers who are avoiding the fruit altogether. [...]

Monday, November 21, 2011

Students escape from ‘internal organ extractors’ (Philippines)

Sun Star [Philippines]
22 November 2011

2 students escape from ‘internal organ extractors’

By Michael Andrew W. Yu

CAGAYAN DE ORO -- Two students escaped from abductors Monday and said they witnessed the suspects extracting internal organs of two other students inside a hut in a village here.

Nine-year-old Anna and 13-year-old Mary (not their real names) said five men wearing bonnets, one of whom is a foreigner, kidnapped and dragged them onboard a black van while on their way to school in Zone 7 Mahayahay, Barangay Bayabas on Monday. [...]

“They extracted the heart, two kidneys and eyes of the students,” she said.

Mary added that she saw a mini refrigerator or cooler inside the van. [...]

Sun Star [Philippines]
23 November 2011

Probe still on for ‘kidnapping’ incident

POLICE authorities are still doing their investigation on the alleged abduction of two students by suspects whom they said extracted the internal organs of two other victims inside a hut in Barangay Camaman-an Monday morning.

Senior Inspector Ariel Pontillas, station commander of Police Station 1 in Divisoria, said they could not confirm if there was really abduction since there is no validity as to the facts given by the alleged victims. [...]

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sunderland pizza shop owner hits back at sick Facebook rumours

Sunderland Echo [UK]
18 November 2011

Sunderland pizza shop owner hits back at sick Facebook rumours

A PIZZA shop boss fears vindictive internet rumours could ruin his business and leave staff in the dole queue.

Mohsen Hussein, who owns Pizza Uno and Dixy Chicken, both in St Luke’s Terrace, Pallion, said he was horrified to learn of rumours being circulated on social networking sites containing false allegations about his shops.

Lies circulated include suggestions the business is being shut down for hygiene breaches and bodily fluids being used in recipes. [...]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

AIDS Patients Drip Blood on Others' Food (China)

China Radio International
17 November 2011

AIDS in Poisoned Food Rumor Debunked

The Ministry of Health has dismissed a rumor which indicated that several people have been infected with HIV/AIDS from eating food contaminated by HIV/AIDS infected blood, reports.

The Department of Public Security of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region also said Wednesday through its official microblog "Pingantianshan", or "the Peaceful Snow Mountain", that they have not found any cases of HIV/AIDS patients from Xinjiang or elsewhere dripping their blood into food to infect others. [...]

People's Daily Online [China]
18 November 2011

Xinjiang AIDS attack rumor denied

By Huang Jingjing (Global Times)

Both public security and health authorities on Wednesday refuted a rumor claiming that a large group of HIV/AIDS carriers had infiltrated large cities and intended to transmit the virus by contaminating food sources.

The rumor, that went viral, claimed that some 20,000 HIV-positive sufferers from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region had gone to major cities across the country and laced restaurant food with their blood.

It said those attackers were incited by separatists and terrorists, and warned people to not eat Xinjiang food. [...]

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shopkeeper Refuses to Serve Poppy-Wearing Customer

Runcorn and Widnes World [UK]
16 November 2011

Widnes shopkeeper strenuously denies 'malicious rumours'

By Barbara Jordan

ALLEGATIONS that customers were turned away because they were wearing poppies have been strenuously denied by a Widnes shopkeeper.

Rumours claimed a man at The Original Pound Store Extra in Albert Road refused to serve a woman unless she took off her poppy.

Owner Sohail Goder, aged 25, is adamant this incident never happened and now fears for the safety of his staff, family and business after receiving intimidating threats. [...]

Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News [UK]
17 November 2011

Widnes pound shop boss says ‘We sell poppies’ after rumour over ban

by Oliver Clay, Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News

Barry & District News [UK]
20 November 2011

Barry's 99p Stores: Poppy rumours not true

CLAIMS that people wearing poppies were refused entry to Barry's 99p Store have been dismissed.

Haris Rehman, manager at the Holton Road store, said that the claims were merely rumours and that customers and staff has been free to wear poppies in store. [...]

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Bridge Over the Creek

After the recent death of my father, Robert Chapman, I began the task of examining the correspondence archived on his computer, determining which files should be kept, shared with family or deleted. During this mostly cheerless trawl I was delighted to come across one of his favorite anecdotes, a bit of family lore which I had heard him tell quite a few times but I had never thought to write down. Fortunately, my father did, in three emails spanning eight years.

His father, Robert Harris Chapman, was born in 1903 in Port Elgin, a New Brunswick hamlet, and in either 1919 or 1920 entered nearby Mount Allison University. The first and briefest text, written on 20 March 2000, tells what happened to the young RH Chapman during a university break:

One year, back when my father was a student at Mount A,
he returned home for the Easter Holidays and was
informed by the family that there was an election being
fought and that they expected him to contribute his considerable
oratorical talents in support of the Conservatives. He agreed to
speak on their behalf and set out to address a meeting at a small
hamlet near Port Elgin. Arriving at the hall, he asked the local
organizer what the voters in the area most desired. He was
told that it was a bridge across the creek. When he had
finished his presentation he was approached by an old-timer
who said “man and boy I have been attending these political
meetings for nigh on to 60 years and never in all that time has
anyone promised us the bridge with such sincerity; sonny, you
get my vote.” The next night, three miles downstream another
triumph, another bridge promised

The second text is dated 6 February 2002:

The next year at aged 16 he was ready to start at MtA. When
he returned home for the holidays he was told that all the
family was engaged in electioneering and that he should join
in the project. Accordingly, a few days later, he appeared at a
meeting hall in the neighborhood, to give a speech on behalf
of the Conservative party. While being ushered up to the head
table he asked the local organizer if there was anything that the
locals particularly wanted. He was told that yes there was, a
bridge over the creek[.] He concluded his sales pitch with the
statement that one of the highest priorities of the Party once it
was elected would be to commence building a bridge over the
creek. He followed this with his vision of the bridge and the
improvement that this would make to life in the area, both
economically and culturally. Following which, the meeting
broke up and the audience departed, except for one old-timer
who rushed up and shook his hand, "Sonny, you get my vote.
Man and boy I've been attending political meetings for nigh
on 60 years, and never, never in all those years has anyone
promised us the bridge with such sincerity!"

The final variant was sent on 10 October 2008 to the same recipient that got the first one:

The next year, having reached the age of 16, he entered MtA.

On returning home for a holiday, his family told him that they
were all campaigning madly for the Conservatives and that as
a member of the family it was his duty to pitch in. Thus, a
couple of days later, he found himself in front of a hall in a
small hamlet near Port Elgin, ready to give a sales pitch for
the Party. On entering he asked the organizer what did the
natives want most. He was told that it was a bridge over the
creek. He gave his talk, concluding with the words "the first
thing that we are going to do after we are elected is to build
a bridge over your creek[.]" He then described the bridge, and
its future impact on the community, both economically and

The meeting then broke up. At which point an old-timer
approached my father and shook his hand enthusiastically.
"Sonny, you get my vote. Man and boy I've been attending
political meetings for nigh on to 60 years, and never, never,
in all that time has anyone promised us the bridge with such

After such a promising start, it's surprising my grandfather didn't parlay his "considerable oratorical talents" into a career in politics. Instead, he entered the educational field, eventually becoming New Brunswick's Director of Teacher Training, a position he held until his death in 1966. I have no memories of him, just photographs, so he exists most vividly for me in that family story. Needless to say, I must take it on faith that he related this memorate to his son and that it didn't originate with my father (or another source). For what it's worth, I never knew my father to make up stories, although I recognized his propensity to polish his anecdotes until they were sufficiently lustrous.

Besides neglecting to identify the hamlet, my father didn't state which election was involved, the provincial one held on 9 October 1920 or the federal one which was decided on 6 December 1921. If my grandfather made his purported bridge speech during his first year at university, as the texts imply, then it was probably during the provincial election campaign. Either way, he would not have promised the bridge during the Easter holidays, as claimed in the first text. The Thanksgiving holiday period would seem to be a better fit. Such ambiguities and discrepancies may lead one to conclude that it doesn't pay to research too deeply treasured pieces of family lore.

My father's written narratives are more elaborate than his spoken ones were (as is usually the case), but the "old-timer's" response is pretty much how I remember my father saying it, the punch line delivered slowly and emphatically: " all that time has ANYONE promised us the bridge with SUCH SINCERITY!"

In late 2001 my father told this anecdote over the phone to his cousin, Joe Harper, who later repeated it to his son, who was then campaigning for leadership of the Canadian Alliance party. In a Christmas card to my father, Joe Harper wrote that "Stephen really liked your story about the 'sincere promise' to build the bridge. Says he thinks he can use it." But to my knowledge, the current Prime Minister of Canada has never used the anecdote in public.

Brian Chapman

Sunday, November 13, 2011

World's Highest Mosque on 158th Floor

The National [Abu Dhabi, UAE]
13 November 2011

Mosque in Burj Khalifa an urban myth

Colin Simpson

DUBAI -- According to some of the world's most respected news sources, it is the crowning glory of the world's tallest building: a mosque on the 158th floor of the Burj Khalifa, and the highest on Earth. [...]

But it has turned out to be no more than a tall tale. [...]

Dobby the House Elf Named after Edinburgh Business

Scotland on Sunday
13 November 2011

Driver’s tall tale casts a Harry Potter spell on tourists

By Shân Ross

IT PROMISES to be a magical experience that transports tourists into the mind of Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

Thousands of visitors taken to a garden centre on the edge of Edinburgh are being told that it provided the name for one of the most popular characters in Rowling’s mega-selling set of Potter novels.

But Scotland on Sunday can reveal that what has become an urban legend now being publicised by a number of tour companies -- that Dobby the House Elf was named after Dobbies the business -- was made up by an Edinburgh bus driver and guide. [...]

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bread Poisoned to Make White People Sick

The Independent [South Africa]
12 November 2011

No truth to poisoned bread rumours

Tiger Brands has dismissed claims that its bread has been poisoned, the SABC reported on Saturday.

The public broadcaster reported that there were online messages warning consumers not to buy Albany bread because it has been poisoned to make white people sick.

Tiger Brands dismissed the message as a mere speculation with no foundation. - Sapa
East Coast Radio [Durban, South Africa]
14 November 2011
Poison bread message 'a hoax'
By Noma Bolani

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


The Guardian [UK]
8 November 2011

Winterval: the unpalatable making of a modern myth

Kevin Arscott

[...] Between them, the Times and the Sunday Times have in fact managed to repeat the myth 40 times in total since 1998, an achievement only surpassed by the Daily Mail, which leads the field with 44 mentions. The Daily Telegraph managed to repeat it 22 times, only slightly behind the Express (26), and a bit further behind the Sun (31). The Daily Mirror only seems to have repeated the myth on four occasions – less than the Guardian, which has repeated it on six occasions, even though it did eventually debunk the myth in several different articles.

The myth was not just repeated, either. It was also gradually distorted to become ever more removed from the original misconception. What started as a myth that one council had rebranded or renamed Christmas became a pluralised, open-ended narrative that "councils" and "authorities" were rebranding or renaming Christmas as "Winterval". [...]

Daily Mail [UK]
8 November 2011

Clarifications and corrections

By Daily Mail Reporter

We stated in an article on 26 September that Christmas has been renamed in various places Winterval.
Winterval was the collective name for a season of public events, both religious and secular, which took place in Birmingham in 1997 and 1998.

We are happy to make clear that Winterval did not rename or replace Christmas.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Go to Reading, Pa., for a free ride on welfare"

Reading Eagle [PA]
6 November 2011

Myths about welfare in Reading won't go away

Jason Brudereck
Reading Eagle

According to urban legend, the signs are in bus stations, unemployment offices and bodegas across the country: "Go to Reading, Pa., for a free ride on welfare."

That's why the city has so many poor people, the myth goes. [...]

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Candy (2011)

1 November 2011

Oneida Police say tainted gum may have been given to trick-or-treaters

Oneida (WSYR-TV) – Oneida Police are warning parents after reports that bubble gum handed out on Halloween night may have been tainted.

Police say one teen reported that after returning home from trick-or-treating, she put a piece of “Super Bubble Gum” in her mouth that tasted bitter and tin like and made her lips numb. The teen’s mother tasted the gum and confirmed the taste and sensation and called the police. [...]

Police sent the gum to a lab to be tested. They have not confirmed whether or not it is tainted.

CBC News [Canada]
1 November 2011

Prescription pills found in Halloween bag
Codiac RCMP are calling the discovery of pills an isolated incident

The Codiac [New Brunswick] RCMP are investigating how a young person in Moncton wound up with a bag of prescription pills after an evening of trick or treating.

Codiac RCMP Const. Damien Theriault said a child was given a bag of candies on Monday. But when the treat bag was opened up later, it turned out that candy was not the only item in it. [...]

KRQE-TV [Albuquerque, NM]
1 November 2011

Razor blade found in candy
Police say this could be one of many

Reporter: Celina Westervelt

SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) - Sometimes a parent's worst nightmare really does come true.

Someone really did put a razor blade in a child's Halloween candy in Santa Fe Halloween night.

"There was a little slit on that side right here. It was a minimal slit. If he had opened it from the front or the other side he would have never really seen it," said John Martinez.

He found a razor in Reese's peanut butter cup while inspecting his 15 year-old son's Halloween candy. [...]

CJCY-FM [Medicine Hat, Alberta]
1 November 2011

Needle Found In Child's Halloween Bag
Believed to have been picked up on 10th st. SW

It appears one trick or treater in Medicine Hat got a little more than they bargained for.

Just after 10:00 Monday night, Police responded to a complaint that a syringe was found inside a child's Halloween candy bag.

Officers say it was capped, so the needle was not exposed and there was no attempt to hide it within any candy. [...]

Guelph Mercury [ON]
1 November 2011

Fish hook found among Halloween candies in Guelph

GUELPH -- City police are warning parents and children to sort and carefully examine Halloween candy after a parent found a fish hook among his child’s trick-or-treat goodies.

Police have launched an investigation, they reported Tuesday.

The fish hook was on a table during candy sorting. The parent concluded the fish hook was in a bag the child used to gather candy on Halloween Monday evening, police report. [...]

WSLS-TV [Roanoke, VA]
1 November 2011

Raw chicken foot found with child's Halloween candy in Blacksburg

BLACKSBURG, VA -- It may have been a trick, but a raw chicken foot Randa Freeborn says her six-year-old son discovered Monday night in his candy bag, is certainly no treat. [...]

Toronto Star [ON]
2 November 2011

Whitby girl finds needle in Halloween candy

Victoria Ptashnick
Staff Reporter

Residents of a quiet street in Whitby are reeling after an 11-year-old girl found a needle in her Halloween candy after trick-or-treating there. [...]

The Post and Courier [Charleston, SC]
2 November 2011

Needle in treats a sharp warning for mom

By Edward Fennell

SUMMERVILLE -- It's every parent's Halloween nightmare -- a needle dropped in a child's trick-or-treat bag.

It happened Monday night in Summerville, a still-shaken mom said.

"If it was a trick, it was a sick trick," Geny Moringlane of Regency Oaks Drive said about the syringe she discovered amid her children's candy Halloween night. [...]

WSBT-TV [Mishawaka, IN]
4 November 2011

Halloween candy rumors rampant after death of 11-year-old girl, but police say foul play not suspected

By Kelli Stopczynski

CASS COUNTY -- An 11-year-old Howard Township girl was found dead in her bed and some parents are worried about the safety of their own children.

Destany Frick's parents tried to wake her up for school Thursday morning, but she was unresponsive. Other than a news release sent late Thursday, police weren’t saying much Friday. There’s no indication of how or why Destany Frick died. A Cass County police spokesman admitted they are looking into her Halloween candy for clues, but a source close to the investigation said they don't believe that's what killed the otherwise healthy little girl.

Rumors inside Oak Manor Sixth Grade Center and outside in the Niles Community are rampant.

“The Halloween candy might have been poisoned and then she died in her sleep because of that, that's what they're saying,” said Hali Burns, one of Frick’s friends. [...]

Springfield News-Sun [OH]
4 November 2011

Candy had needle inside
Springfield mom reports tampering to police.

By Jessica Heffner, Staff Writer

SPRINGFIELD -- Police are investigating how a sewing needle ended up in a child’s Halloween candy.

The child’s mother told Springfield police on Thursday that she found a sewing needle inside a Tootsie Roll. [...]

WLWT-TV [Cincinnati, OH]
2 November 2011

Mom Claims Child Found Needle In Trick-Or-Treat Candy

DAYTON, Ohio -- A Dayton woman says her daughter bit into a candy bar and found a needle.

Cynthia Finley said she didn't check her daughter's candy after she came home from trick-or-treating, only to have her daughter find the needle in a mini-Baby Ruth candy bar. [...]

The Tennessean
8 November 2011

Sewing needle discovered in a child's Halloween candy

A father filed a report with the La Vergne Police Department Monday that his 12-year-old child discovered a sewing needle in a Tootsie Roll.[...]

WTVF-TV [Nashville, TN]
1 November 2011

Montgomery County Mom Says Needle Found In Candy

by Kim Gebbia

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn.- It's been written off as urban legend: parents who find sharp objects in their kids' Halloween candy.

But for one Montgomery County mom, it was reality Tuesday when she found a two-inch needle in a candy bar wrapper. [...]

Chicago Sun-Times
14 November 2011

Metal nail found in trick-or-treat candy in Wheaton


Police are investigating after a nail was found in a candy bar given to a child on Halloween in west suburban Wheaton.

On Sunday, a resident of the 400 block of Byron Court notified police of possible food-tampering after finding a 1-inch metal nail in a fun-size Snickers candy bar. The parent called police department and no one was injured. [...]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bill Cosby Pays for Annual Lobster Dinner

The Massachusetts Daily Collegian [University of Massachusetts Amherst]
27 October 2011

Lobster dinner myth debunked

By: Steffi Porter

[...] “Everyone knows that Bill Cosby donates lobsters to UMass every Halloween. It’s a UMass tradition,” said sophomore Audrey Coulter. “I assume it’s because he’s a UMass alum. He just wants to give us lobsters for a happy Halloween.”

But while some are avid believers in the Cosby theory, others are skeptical and suspicious that Cosby does not actually have any involvement with the annual lobster dinner. [...]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Clown Stabs People (Tyneside, UK)
25 October 2011

Rumours of clown stab attack on Tyneside are false

ODD rumours that a man dressed as a clown had been spotted stabbing people on Tyneside have turned out to be false.

Our website was inundated with people searching for news on the supposed incidents after Twitter and Facebook lit up with reports about the attacks.

Some people claimed the knifings had taken place in Whickham, Gateshead, while others said the man had been spotted in Newcastle city centre. [...]

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cheating Couple's Encounter (Kenya)

The Standard [Kenya]
23 October 2011

Man bumps into his wife at a lodging


A husband and wife who had been cheating on each other literally caught themselves pants down when they bumped into each at a lodging in the expansive Karagita estate near Naivasha Town. [...]

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pedestrian Enters & Exits Car Blocking Crosswalk

Fun Fare: A Treasury of Reader's Digest Wit and Humor (Pleasantville, NY: The Reader's Digest Association, 1949), p. 245.

At a busy intersection in Oklahoma City, as a traffic signal turned red, a four-door sedan rolled to a stop, completely blocking the pedestrian crosswalk. Instead of following a flow of pedestrians around the front and rear of the car, a middle-aged man walked straight ahead, opened the read door, climbed through the car and stepped out the other door, leaving both doors wide open, while amid the honking of horns the driver stared bewildered after his retreating form. -- Oscar E. Gram.

Times Colonist [Victoria, BC, Canada]
21 October 2011

The senior versus the crosswalk hog

By Steve Wallace, Times Colonist

When you teach driving for as long as I have, you see some very strange things. Every professional driver who spends a lifetime behind the wheel has stories to tell. Here is one of mine.

As my student driver pulled up to a four-way stop, I noticed a vehicle opposite us had also stopped, but was significantly over the crosswalk line. Cross traffic had interrupted his path through the intersection.

A senior was attempting to cross the street by walking between the freshly painted white lines delineating the crosswalk. She became so incensed that she walked in front of the driver's car and started to pound on his hood with her umbrella as she scolded him for the obvious driving indiscretion. [...]

She expected the driver to vacate the intersection. More cross traffic, thinking the show was over, further delayed the driver's movement across the intersection.

The senior took a few steps toward the back door of the already embarrassed driver and noticed there was not enough space to walk behind the car. She then proceeded to open the back door and proudly announced: "If I cannot go around you. I will go through you."

She got in the car, slid across the back seat and out the other door and walked away, chastising the driver once again for blocking her walking path. The stunned driver now had both back doors open and was seemingly paralyzed. [...]

Thursday, October 20, 2011

U.S Navy Researches Rumors

San Francisco Chronicle
14 October 2011

Researchers help U.S. military track, defuse rumors

Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer

[...] [T]he U.S. Navy is paying $1.6 million to San Francisco State University Professor Daniel Bernardi and three Arizona researchers to track, collect and find ways to defuse stories used as weapons. [...]

The U.S. military fails to systematically track rumors, Bernardi said.

To do it right, he'll employ an ethnographic team - people who study cultures - to evaluate the threat of individual rumors, an engineering team to build the rumor database, and analysts to do what analysts do. Finally, a "countermeasures team" will "develop targeted counter-narratives that speak directly to the cultural and religious traditions of relevant populations," Bernardi said. [...]

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Diner Chokes on Dog ID Chip

Daily Telegraph [UK]
13 October 2011

Bizarre urban myth ruining business at Chinese restaurant

By Richard Alleyne

Diners are shunning their Chinese eatery after an urban myth spread around the area that a woman choked on a dog's identification chip as she ate her meal.

The rumour, which began on the internet, is becoming so widespread that the 30-year-old restaurant could go out of business. [...]

The rumour revolves around a woman diner at the China Rose near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, who is said to have choked on an identification microchip from a former racing greyhound. [...]

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tunnels Connected Bars & Brothels (Durango, CO)

The Durango Herald [CO]
11 October 2011

If tunnel walls could talk
Many stories about spaces more fantasy than fact

By Emery Cowan Herald Staff Writer

There’s a rumor swirling around Durango, and historian Duane Smith has tried to correct it too many times to count.

Though the details differ from person to person, the story goes that there’s a system of tunnels underneath Main Avenue that was used by women of ill repute and their male customers to travel between brothels and bars while remaining hidden from the public and protected from cold winter weather. [...]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Special Pens Change Marks on Ballots (Zambia)

Special Pens Change Marks on Ballots (Zambia)

Zambian Watchdog
20 September 2011

Suspicious Kawambwa votes using own pens

By Chephas Malimba

People at St. Mary’s Basic School Polling station in Kawambwa woke up as early as 03:30 hours to cast their votes. By 06:00, there were more than 500 voters in the queue, out of the more than 1 380 registered voters.

However, most voters were seen with their own pens and exchanging pens. This is due to a rumor that the ECZ provided pens are made in such a way that if you mark X against Sata using ECZ pen, RB being on top while Sata at the bottom, when you fold the ballot paper horizontally, the X against Sata will fade directly to RB’s slot.

The rumour suggests that, this is how the election is going to be rigged.

Times of Zambia
22 September 2011

ECZ results website hacked

By Times Reporter

[Electoral Commission of Zambia Chairperson Justice Ireen Mambilima:] “The commission would further like to dismiss the myth of the so called magic pen provided by ECZ at polling stations whose ink purportedly fades after a voter has marked the ballot paper or the mark shifting from one candidate’s slot to another.”
Lusaka Times
22 September 2011
ECZ magic pens allegations a myth-Mambilima

Friday, September 16, 2011

College Building Mistaken for Mosque, Vandalized

Birmingham Mail [UK]
16 September 2011

Vandals attack Bournville College building after mistaking it for a mosque

by Catherine Lillington, Birmingham Mail

A CONTROVERSIAL new Birmingham college has been targeted by vandals after rumours swept the area that a golden-clad part of the building was in fact a mosque. [...]

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Killer Phone Numbers (Nigeria, 2011)

Champion Newspapers [Nigeria]
15 September 2011

Panic over death through GSM calls
It’s a mere hoax -- NCC

Charles Okoh, Deputy News Editor

Panic yesterday gripped mobile phone users in Nigeria as news spread that people were dying after answering calls on their mobile phones. [...]

Same article also available at
Nigeria: Panic Over Death Through GSM Calls -It's a Mere Hoax -- NCC
Charles Okoh

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Clear the Runway

Financial Post [Toronto, Canada]
10 September 2011

It's what you 'no', not what you know

Jane MacDougall, Weekend Post

[Brad Armstrong, a Vancouver lawyer,] said it might just be legal lore, but a story circulates about an aviation accident some years back. It was winter. A small plane was having to make an emergency landing at a rural airport. The order to "Clear the runway" was given. The fellow who operated the snow-removal equipment, unaware of the unscheduled landing, immediately mounted his tractor and set out on the tarmac to remove the accumulated snow.

The plane landed with the worst possible consequences. [...]

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lawyer Puts Coins in Mouth to Fool Breathalyzer

The Nelson Mail [New Zealand]
7 September 2011

Coins 'fell from mouth'

A lawyer hid the cord of a breath testing machine in a police station filing cabinet, and then concealed coins in his mouth in a bid to fool the machine.

Westport lawyer Douglas Taffs, 53, appeared in the Nelson District Court yesterday and admitted a charge of driving with excess breath alcohol, failing to remain for an evidential breath test and obstructing police. [...]

Monday, September 5, 2011

Boy Stuck by Needle in Movie Theater Seat

WBNS-TV [Columbus, OH]
4 September 2011

Boy, 8, Stuck By Needle Inside Movie Theater

COLUMBUS, Ohio - An eight-year-old boy was hospitalized on Sunday afternoon after he was apparently stuck by a needle inside a northwest side movie theater. [...]

Police said the device turned out to be a writing pen with the ink cartridge removed, and a sewing needle in its place.

The device was left in between the seats, and when the child leaned over to talk to his parents, he was stuck in the back, said police. [...]

Fear that Sea Eagles May Prey on Children

The Scotsman
3 September 2011

Could a sea eagle mistake young child for prey, ask gamekeepers

By Frank Urquhart

A FURIOUS row has erupted between Britain's leading bird charity and Scottish gamekeepers over claims that sea eagles could mistake young children for their natural prey. [...]

A spokesman for RSPB Scotland declared: "It is the worst kind of alarmist nonsense to suggest that sea eagles might soon be preying on children for food. [...]

Monday, August 29, 2011

Whole Foods Boycotts Israeli Goods

Anti-Defamation League
26 August 2011

Press Release

Whole Foods Assures ADL: We Do Not Boycott Israel

New York, NY, August 26, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed assurances from Whole Foods Market that the company does not engage in boycotts of products from Israel or any other country.

"Whole Foods Market has made it unequivocally clear that it has not and will not engage in boycotts against the state of Israel," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "In fact they continue to carry a number of Israeli products, and have assured us that they do so with pride."

The League reached out to Whole Foods in response to a rumor circulating on the Internet suggesting that Whole Foods was engaged in a boycott of the Jewish State and had refused to stock products originating from Israel. [...]
Haaretz [Israel]
29 August 2011
Whole Foods denies rumors about boycotting Israeli products

Prison Beds Determined by Third Grade Scores

The Fayetteville Observer [NC]
29 August 2011

Pitts: Urban myth about reading scores won't die

Myron B. Pitts

In doing research for my column, I tried to pinpoint one of the more damning indictments of our state's education system: Namely, that the state estimates the number of future prison beds it will need based on the reading test scores of third-graders. [...]

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Misunderstanding in Public Toilet

Sydney Morning Herald [Australia]
29 August 2011

Column 8

[...] Modern Life: ''I was in the public toilets and had just sat down,'' reports Mark Lang, of Byron Bay. ''A voice from the next cubicle said 'Hi! How are you?' Embarrassed, I said, 'I'm doing fine.' The voice said, 'So what are you up to?' I said, 'Just doing the same as you, sitting here!' From next door, 'Can I come over?' Annoyed, I said, 'I'm rather busy right now.' The voice said, 'Listen, I'll have to call you back - there's an idiot next door answering all my questions'.''

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake Caused Washington Monument to Tilt

Washington Post
24 August 2011

Fox News and the tilting Washington Monument

By Erik Wemple

Give Megyn Kelly credit for communicating gravitas in the aftermath of the earthquake. Yesterday afternoon on Fox News, she reported:

“They are concerned that the Washington Monument may be tilting.” [...]

Washington Post
24 August 2011

Fox sidesteps blame in monumental tilt

By Erik Wemple

Megyn Kelly of Fox News just addressed the question of her network’s faulty report on the tilting of the Washington Monument. Actually, rephrase that: Megyn Kelly of Fox News just said some stuff about the tilting of the Washington Monument and took no blame whatsoever for the erroneous reporting. [...]
Fox News
24 August 2011
Washington Monument Remains Closed After Earthquake
by Jason Donner

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pills Made From Dead Babies (China)

Global Times [China]
10 August 2011

Govt probes pills 'made from dead infants'


The Ministry of Health expressed great concern Tuesday over South Korean media reports indicating that Seoul customs authorities had seized a batch of medicine from China that used the dried-up remains of dead infants as its main ingredient. [...]

China Daily
10 August 2011

Ministry investigates pills made of 'baby flesh'

By Zhou Wenting and Liu Mingtai (China Daily)

BEIJING / CHANGCHUN - The Ministry of Health said on Tuesday that it has launched an investigation in the wake of a media report in South Korea about capsules from China - made from the flesh of dead babies - being used as stamina boosters. [...]

Monday, August 15, 2011

Women Raping Men (Zimbabwe)

The Zimbabwean
3 September 2010

Rape - the men never saw it coming

Written by ZimOnline

HARARE – Zimbabwean men are a proud lot, but they are slowly taking a bruising with increasing reports of women raping men, in a bizarre trend that appears driven more by superstition, and which social commentators say reflects a more serious underlying problem – total moral decay of the nation. [...]
6 October 2010

The Herald [Zimbabwe]

Zimbabwe: Three Women Kidnap, Rape Cop

Harare — A 26-year-old Bulawayo man, believed to be a policeman, last Friday became the latest victim in a string of sexual assaults by gangs of women on men.

The man was reportedly kidnapped, robbed and sexually abused by three women after they offered him a lift from Bulawayo to Kwekwe. The man was forced to drink a "bitter substance" that rendered him unconscious after which the women took advantage of him. [...]

The Herald [Zimbabwe]
25 March 2011

Karoi man raped at ‘snake point’

From Walter Nyamukondiwa in Chinhoyi

[...] A man was offered a lift as a token of appreciation for helping a stranded female motorist but got the shock of his life when he was shown a massive snake at the back seat of the car before being ordered to be intimate with her. [...]

The Herald [Zimbabwe]
12 July 2011

4 women sexually abuse man at Juru

Herald Reporter

FOUR women reportedly sexually abused a Goromonzi man at Juru Growth Point on Saturday after forcing
him to swallow some unknown pills at gunpoint before extracting his semen, which they placed in a container. [...]

NewsDay [Zimbabwe]
5 August 2011

Cops hunt female rapists


The Zimbabwe Republic Police is appealing to members of the public to assist them with information on three women who are reportedly on a spree of raping men.

Acting officer commanding police Harare province Assistant Commissioner Angeline Guvamombe said the women were on the loose, terrorising men and raping them. She was speaking at the Mbare District Awards of Excellence in Policy, where she was the guest of honour.

“Allow me as well to use this platform to appeal to members of the public to pass any information to the police regarding three women who have gone on a spree of kidnapping and indecently assaulting young men around town,” said Guvamombe.

“The women drive in poshy cars and offer a lift to their victims before spraying some liquid substance on the men’s faces. Once the victim is drowsy the women take the victim to a secluded place or house where they force him to be intimate with them. I want to warn these criminals that the net is drawing closer,” added Guvamombe. [...]

The Herald [Zimbabwe]
8 August 2011

Women kidnap, rape two men

Herald Reporter

TWO men were kidnapped last week and forced to be intimate with women at gunpoint in two separate incidents. In the first incident, a 30-year-old man was kidnapped and forced to be intimate with three women for five days after being reportedly given some drugs. [...]

The Standard [Zimbabwe]
14 August 2011

Mystery of women rapists unleashing terror on men


FOR a hugely patriarchal society such as Zimbabwe, the reported cases of women raping men are a huge assault at male domination, causing people to cringe at the mere thought of such kind of emasculation.

Like all such stories, reports of the women gangs sounded like urban legends, but reports of such rapes have increased and got the police interested in investigating the cases. But the police are yet to arrest any woman involved in raping men. [...]

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Grease Devils (Sri Lanka)

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
2 August 2011

Drunken ‘grease devils’ scare women

By Prasanna Pathmasiri

Seven youths who were alleged to have been frightening women at night have been arrested, police said yesterday.

They said four of them were residents of Dodamgolla while two were from Ambagolla and would be produced in courts this week. Police said these youths known as “Grease devils”, peeped into homes while roaming the streets at nights after consuming liquor.

Frightened women in the area began locking their homes after 6.00 p.m.

Daily News [Sri Lanka]
5 August 2011

Grease yakas, a fiction - SP

Nadira Gunatilleke

The grease yaka or the bhuthaya is a myth. The public should not be misled and terrified by rumours because certain persons and groups are trying to take political and other advantage from such fabricated stories, police spokesman SP Prishantha Jayakody said. [...]
Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
11 August 2011
STF on the look out for ‘grease devils’

Sunday Times [Sri Lanka]
11 August 2011

Three die in "Grease Devil" curse

At least three people have been killed and scores of others injured including several policemen as tension mounts in the ongoing ‘Grease Devil’ scare that has rocked several parts of the country over the past few days.

In the most recent incident two suspected "Grease Devils" were chopped to death by villagers while intimidating women tea pluckers at an estate in the Haputale police area earlier today. [...]
Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
11 August 2011
Dancing the devil

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
11 August 2011

STF to go after ‘Grease Devils’

Three teams from the elite Special Task Force (STF) have been deployed in to the Hatton area to track down individuals engaged in frightening women and taking away their belongings by posing as ‘Grease Devils.’ [...]

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
11 August 2011

‘Grease Devils’ -- Myth: IGP

Inspector General of Police (IGP) N. K. Illangakoon informed the public that the so called ‘Grease Devils’ is a myth and said that the police have arrested almost all the suspects, 47 persons involved in robberies and frightening women.

He said that the public should not disrupt their day to day activities because of these fake people. During investigations it was revealed that some had spread stories about Grease Devils roaming the area to carry out robberies and some had done so for fun. [...]

12 August 2011

"Grease Devil" panic grips rural Sri Lanka, at least three dead

By Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Panic over nighttime assaults blamed on "grease devils" has struck across rural Sri Lanka, leading to the deaths of at least three people this week, prompting women to stay indoors and men to arm themselves, police and local media said.

Historically, a "grease devil" was a thief who wore only underwear and covered his body in grease to make himself difficult to grab if chased. But lately, the "grease devil" has become a nighttime prowler who frightens and attacks women.

"The story we hear is he comes and bites young women's necks and breasts. Despite several complaints, the police have failed to act on that and in fact in two places have released the culprits," a 36-year-old airline ticketing agent from the Hill Country district of Matale said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of upsetting authorities. [...]
Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
13 August 2011
Site of ‘grease devil’ saga gets STF protection

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
13 August 2011

Curfew in Pottuvil

One Killed in Clashes

By Supun Dias

Police imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the Pottuvil area yesterday after clashes between civilians and law enforcement authorities intensified leaving one dead and five injured.

The tense situation erupted in Pottuvil as a result of people mistaking officers engaged in elephant census hiding in jungles as ‘Grease Devils’, robbers and army deserters.

The victim who died of gunshot injuries was identified as a Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) candidate in Pottuvil. [...]

The Sunday Times [Sri Lanka]
14 August 2011

An unbelievable collapse of confidence in law enforcement

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Alongside a picturesque stretch of coastline between Akkaraipattu and Pottuvil in Sri Lanka’s East Coast, a tire burning brightly in the centre of the road is etched starkly against crisp morning light. Given Sri Lanka’s history, when bodies burning on top of tires were once a common sight across the country, this was an unsettling reminder that the past is inclined, more often than not, to repeat itself.

This time around, the burning tire was no commonplace accident. It was a deliberate sign of civil unrest, pointing to mystifying encounters that frightened villagers have had with ‘grease devils’ or men who were repeatedly attacking homes and stabbing women, particularly young girls and drawing blood from them. [...]

The Sunday Leader [Sri Lanka]
14 August 2011
The Grease Yaka Sightings: Fact Vs. Myth
By Raisa Wickrematunge
Sunday Times [Sri Lanka]
14 August 2011
What the devil is going on?
By Chris Kamalendran

Daily News [Sri Lanka]
15 August 2011

Political movement behind monster canard

Chandrika Perera

It is revealed that a political movement which is in a steep decline is behind the rumours of grease monsters to create disorder in the country. The same political group had been the force behind instigating terror during the period of 1988-89 with a message written on a piece of paper. [...]

The Daily Mirror [Zimbabwe]
16 August 2011

Peace in East after turmoil

Mobs lay siege to Kinniya DS office for hours

By Supun Dias

The Kinniya Divisional Secretariat office was surrounded by hundreds of people for several hours yesterday demanding the release of 24 suspects arrested in connection with attacking the police and damaging state property in Kinniya the previous night.

Eastern Province Security Forces Commander Major General Boniface Perera, Trincomalee Government Agent Rtd. Major General Ranjith De Silva and several government officers had to stay within the premises for over four hours due to the siege.

The situation started with a mob allegedly led by traders in the area attacking the Kinniya Navy detachment the previous night demanding to hand over two persons, claiming that they were Grease Devils. The unruly mob later stoned the camp and as a result police arrested 24 people for unruly behaviour. [...]
15 August 2011
Thousands of Sri Lankans besiege government office
By Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez

The Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
16 August 2011

Market researches on grease devils

Market research companies have become the latest victims of the ‘Grease Devils’ phenomenon after it was found that a number of door-to-door research representatives were subject to harassment by residents who suspected them to be grease devils. [...]

Sunday Observer [Sri Lanka]
14 August 2011
Pottuvil calm after the high drama
by Jayampathy JAYASINGHE
Sri Lanka Guardian
17 August 2011
Over 100 arrested as "grease yaka" suspects

Sri Lanka Guardian
17 August 2011

More protests over 'Grease Yakas' in east

(August 17, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Villagers broke into the Vavunathivu Divisional Secretary’s office and damaged property after claiming that three ‘Grease Yakas’ entered the nurses quarters at night and police had failed to take action. [...]

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
17 August 2011

Grease Devils – Saga continues in N' Eliya

Senior DIG Gamini Navaratne said the administration of 137 estates in the Nuwara Eliya District had been crippled by the fear psychosis created by an organised group under the pretext of spirits called Grease Devils. Addressing a meeting of estate managers and superintendents in Nuwara Eliya and Hatton police divisions he said the mysterious killings in Kahawatta created a misconception among the public that an invisible being was responsible for the killings and that it gradually spread to several areas of the country. [...]

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
18 August 2011

Police awareness programmes on ‘Grease Devils’

By Supun Dias

The Police Department is conducting awareness programmes to educate the people and to prevent the spread of rumours on ‘Grease Devils’ in villages islandwide. So far the police have conducted such programmes in 1856 villages. [...]

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
20 August 2011

Police yet to uncover grease devil mystery: UNP

By Yohan Perera

The main opposition United National Party (UNP) said yesterday the failure on the part of the authorities to uncover the mystery behind the ‘Grease Yaka’ phenomenon had resulted in the situation getting out of hand with fear and panic spreading among the people. [...]

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
20 August 2011

Rumour-monger released

By T. Farook Thajudeen

A man who was arrested on charges of having spread rumours about a grease devil roaming the area causing fear and panic among the residents of Bhai-ge-watte at Wolvendhal Street was severely warned and released by a Colombo Court yesterday.

Chief Magistrate Rashmi Singappuli warned suspect Mohamed Riznas who pleaded guilty to the charge that if he repeated this type of rumour mongering, he would be sternly dealt with.

The Sunday Leader [Sri Lanka]
20 August 2011

Grease Devils: Busting The Myth

By Abdul H. Azeez - in Arugam Bay/Pottuvil

The Grease Devils or grease yakas’ hold on the public imagination is reaching epic levels. Mass paranoia, fear and outrage have broken out in the Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara districts with the public taking the law into their own hands. [...]

Grease Yakas and Navy Checkpoints Worry the Public

By Maryam Azwer

Locals in certain areas of the Trincomalee district claim that their lives have been disrupted, first by alleged grease yaka sightings, and now by the setting up of several navy checkpoints. [...]

And Now A “Grease Yaka” Fan Page

By Raisa Wickrematunge

Continued reports of alleged grease yaka attacks have begun to receive increased attention on social media and the Internet. An official ‘grease yaka’ fan page has been set up on social networking site Facebook. [...]

Sunday Observer [Sri Lanka]
20 August 2011

Grease Devil on face book ?

Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team (SLCERT) said any complaints of fake accounts with name the name Grease Yaka on the famous social network site facebook can lodge to them to handover such complaints to the Criminal Investigation division for further investigations. [...]
Grease Yaka (The Grease Devil )
[The Grease Devil Facebook page also has links to some newspaper articles.]

Lankae News [Sri Lanka]
12 August 2011
Deadly flame of ‘Grease devils’ spreads: curfew in Samanthurai – King Dutugemunu’s sword vs people’s word

Groundviews [Sri Lanka]
21 August 2011

De-greasing social speculation over “grease devils” in Sri Lanka

Kusal Perera

[...] The controversial “LankaeNews” (LeN) a not so professional web site carrying Sri Lankan news, reported on 12 August, 2011 a long story that gave life to gossip, captioned “Deadly flame of ‘Grease devils’ spreads: curfew in Samanthurai –King Dutugemunu’s sword vs people’s word”.

The report said, the so named elusive stalkers are on the prowl to abduct 14 breast feeding young mothers for a ritual to dig out the sword used by King Dutugemunu. Justification of this fiction comes with the final paragraph that says, “no matter what…” the North Central Province reservoir dams are being dug by a powerful politico in search of King Dutugemunu’s sword and has pushed the archaeology department also into a quandary. Implied sub text of the whole story is that, it is for Mahinda Rajapaksa.

LeN’s “14 mothers” since August 12, have multiplied making rounds in Colombo and suburbs to 500, then to 1,000 and the last heard this morning (19 August) as 50,000 mothers. Most stories don’t talk of abductions now. Most now talk of night stalkers who come wearing well pointed “white iron” finger nails, that make scratching of female breasts easy, to collect blood. Again the blood is said to be for a ritual that would release President Rajapaksa from a very bad astrological influence. [...]

21 August 2011
Police officer killed in 'grease devil' riot
By Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez
The Nation [Sri Lanka]
21 August 2011
Grease devils creating mass hysteria
By S. Selvakumar
Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
22 August 2011
Grease Yakas spread fear and confusion
By Olindhi Jayasundere and Supun Dias

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
23 August 2011

Grease devils: trick to extend emergency

UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella

[...] Villagers in Kandy have seen so-called ‘grease devils’ being dropped off in the area by government vehicles. I was informed that some of those who had made direct complaints to the police were informed by the police officers themselves that they know who is responsible for the ‘grease devil’ phenomenon and assured the people that it will stop shortly. It is clear that this is a move by the government to sidetrack the people from what is real and that which should be urgently addressed. The government has cleverly utilised this to extend the emergency regulations which should be removed with immediate effect.
The Island [Sri Lanka]
22 August 2011
Grease devils?
challenge to post war security measures
By Jehan Perera

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
25 August 2011

Those disturbing the peace will be punished: Hathurusinghe

By Supun Dias

More troops have been deployed in Jaffna with additional foot and mobile patrols to assist the police in maintaining law and order in the area in the aftermath of Monday’s violence in Navanthurai over rumours that a grease devil was found roaming there. [...]

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
25 August 2011

Govt. could censor grease devil issue - UNP

By Yohan Perera and Kelum


UNP Puttalam District MP Niroshan Perera in Parliament yesterday expressed fears that the government might impose a media censorship on reports about ‘Grease Devils’ in the coming days.

[...] He charged that a person identified as Perumal Sivakumar had been hacked to death by personnel in military uniforms when he had gone to the police station to lodge a complaint regarding a grease devil. He said this incident had taken place in Puttalam on Tuesday (23). [...]

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
24 August 2011

Grease Devil phobia: 100 arrested in Jaffna

By Sandun A. Jayasekera, Supun Dias and N. Parameswaran

The ‘Grease Devil’ phobia has reached Jaffna with more than 100 people being arrested by the Police and Army on Monday night following clashes between them and the civilians in Jaffna.

Some 27 civilians were admitted to the Jaffna hospital following clashes, hospital sources said. [...]
Colombo Page [Sri Lanka]
24 August 2011
Protest in slain Sri Lankan police officer's hometown
Colombo Page [Sri Lanka]
24 August 2011
Sri Lanka Police assigns CID's Cyber Crimes Division to track down "Grease Yakas" on Facebook
Groundviews [Sri Lanka]
24 August 2011
De-greasing social speculation over “grease devils” in Sri Lanka: Part II
Kusal Perera
Asian Tribune [Sweden]
24 August 2011
Grease Yaka Phenomenon: Someone is orchestrating this devil dance
By Raj Gonsalkorale

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
24 August 2011

Not a grease yaka

By Padma Kumari kankanamge

A young man who exploited the commotion caused by grease yakas in several parts of the country was caught robbing homes of villagers and handed over to Kalpitiya Police last morning, sources said.

Police said during the inquiries they recovered two water pumps and cellular phones from the 21-year-old resident of Ethkala area.

“He was wearing only black underwear, when a group of young men keeping vigilance to the village caught him, police said. [...]

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
26 August 2011

Religious leaders call for patience

By Lumbini Karandana

[...] Sabaragamuwa University Vice Chancellor Ven. Kamburugamuwe Vajira Thera appealed to the public to act with patience by not letting the so-colled grease devil phobia or its promoters to disturb the prevailing peaceful environment in the country.

“There are numerous International movements, NGOs and political organizations behind the spreading of this myth of grease devils with the intention of creating difficulties for the government,” he told a news brieifng. [...]

The Weekend Leader [India]
26 August 2011

Naam Thamilar leader Seeman wants a referendum on Eelam in Sri Lanka

By P C Vinoj Kumar

A separate country for Tamils is the only practical solution to the never ending miseries of the Sri Lankan Tamils, said Naam Thamilar leader Seeman in an interview to The Weekend Leader.

[...] “Tamil women continue to be raped and their breasts are being cut off by so-called ‘grease devils’. The government is doing nothing to prevent the attacks on the hapless Tamils,” he said. [...]

Groundviews [Sri Lanka]
25 August 2011

You Can’t Catch A Bogeyman

T. Aruna

[...] Without obscuring or denying the actual violence of attacks and counter attacks, it seems that the most interesting characteristic of the figure of the ‘Grease Yaka/Mystery Man’ is its ability to embody the fears and preoccupations of diverse communities across the country. Even though there are certain general features (ie. the targetting of women, the cuts/scratches to hands or breasts, and the elusive nature of the perpetrators) that appear in reports from across the country, the ‘Grease Yaka/Mystery Man’ seems to take on localized qualities in each community where it is manifest. [...]

Colombo Page [Sri Lanka]
26 August 2011

Teen shot dead during Grease Devil hunt in Sri Lanka

Aug 26, Kandy: A 16-year-old boy was killed in a mishap related to another Grease Devil incident in Gurudeniya of Kandy district in the Central Province.

The villagers were on a hunt last night for a suspicious person alleged to be a Grease Devil.

The boy has also joined the search and the death occurred when a drunken person who was among the search party fired his gun recklessly. [...]

Thalathuoya police arrested the person suspected to be the gunman and the investigations are underway.

26 August 2011

HRCSL refuses to register complaints against ‘grease devil’ attacks

[...] Batticaloa Teaching Hospital authorities have been issuing medical reports for women who are alleged to have been attacked by suspected ‘grease devil” stating that they are suffering from depression, snake bite and family dispute.

Persons affected by ‘grease devil ‘scare in villages Ka'luvangkea'ni, Oo'rani and Vaazhaichcheanai are issued with medical reports that they suffer from self-inflicted injuries. Hence the affected persons rush to make complaints to HRCS regional offices in the East.

The Sri Lankan Police is said to have directed hospital authorities not to entertain complaints from women with the history of being attacked by ‘grease devil’. Now the HRCSL also come under the pressure of the SL law enforcement authority not to entertain such complaints, informed sources in the district told TamilNet Friday. [...]

The Nation [Sri Lanka]
28 August 2011

‘Grease devil a creation of foreign elements’

By S. Selvakumar

The story of grease devils doing the rounds in many parts of the country is [...] aimed at discrediting the Government and creating tension among the population. It was fabricated by interested foreign powers and certain local groups and planted in this country, said Fr. Sarath Hettiarachi, Presidential Religious Coordinator. [...]

Sunday Times [Sri Lanka]
28 August 2011

Puttalam town: Where fear and suspicion still reign

By Saradha Mohan Kumar, Pix by Sanka Vidanagama

It has been two days since the emergency law was lifted, but Puttalam town on Friday looked like a war zone with security forces deployed and army tanks parked around the town. The “grease yaka” appears to have the island in its grip, as more attacks are reported and people struggle to get back to their routine lives.

“The situation is not getting any better, it is only becoming worse,” kurukkal (kovil priest) Venkata Sundarasharma in Puttalam said. “We don’t understand who could be doing this. There was some peace after the end of the war but now the ‘grease yaka’ is destroying it,” he said. [...]

BBC News [UK]
28 August 2011

The mystery of Sri Lanka's 'grease devils'

By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Puttalam

A few nights ago Tuan Mohamed Saleh Nona Faris heard a rustling outside her house and saw a shadow move.

"He looked like a gorilla, he was completely covered in black from top to toe. I couldn't see his face or hands," the elderly lady in the west coast fishing district of Puttalam said.

She believes the intruder was one of Sri Lanka's notorious "grease devils". [...]

Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
2 September 2011

Panicked villagers attack bus fearing ‘grease devil’

By Srinath Prasanna Jayasuriya

The Jaffna police headquarters said that they had apprehended six (6) persons on suspicion of attacking a bus filled with pilgrims from the south on Wednesday (31) in Jaffna Town.

While these pilgrims were sleeping at a rest house in Jaffna in the night, a woman residing nearby had screamed that there was a grease devil among the pilgrims. This alerted the entire neighborhood, who surrounded the bus carrying poles and iron rods and began attacking the bus. The bus was severely damaged in the attack. However everyone including the driver and conductor had been able to escape unhurt. [...]

2 September 2011

SL Army uses public buildings to ‘transform’ into ‘grease devils’

The genocidal military of Sri Lanka occupying Jaffna uses some particular public buildings to ‘transform’ themselves into ‘grease devils’ in the nights, eyewitnesses told TamilNet. Scores of SL military men in uniform, who come to these buildings in the nights change into a different costume, apply grease on their face and disperse in different directions to terrorise residents of the locality. They also wear gloves and carry a small kris-knife with them. When one group disperses like this, another group with military vehicles wait in the building to provide ‘security’ for the ‘grease devils’ if any need arises. [...]

The Sunday Times [Sri Lanka]
4 September 2011

Women activists to petition SC that State has failed in its duty
Combating the grease yaka controversy

By Kumudini Hettiarachchi

In a new twist to the “grease yaka” phenomenon, women activists are planning to petition the Supreme Court this week on the grounds that the State is failing in its duty to protect women from these perpetrators. [...]

Sri Lanka Guardian 5 September 2011

'Grease Yakka’ phenomenon

by Sumanasiri Liyanage

[...] Who is this grease devil? Although some cartoonists portrayed it as politicians or their relatives or goons who could easily escape from anything, there has been no serious attempt to investigate this imaginary character. Is this purely an imaginary construction that was empty, null and arbitrarily ‘stuck together’? Does this imaginary construction correspond to reality or is it just an illusion? One thing is clear; it signifies the presence of internally generated fear, anxiety, threat and uncertainty. [...]

The Daily Mirror [Sri Lanka]
5 September 2011

Protest in Jaffna against police inaction in ‘grease yaka’ saga

By Kelum Bandara

Tamil politicians and civil society leaders in the north decided yesterday to stage a one-day protest in Jaffna on September 10, as a mark of protest against the failure of the government to curb the ‘Grease Yaka’ menace in the area, former MP M.K. Sivajilingam said yesterday. [...]

8 September 2011

Sri Lanka Grease Devils scapegoat mental patients

Sri Lanka’s occupying military in Jaffna that has now become Sri Lanka Grease Devils commits a despicably inhuman crime by forcibly bringing in mental patients warded in Thellippazhai mental hospital to take part in its ‘grease devil’ attacks, residents in Vasaavi’laan said. [...]

11 September 2011

‘Grease devil’ episode develops into standoff at Tholpuram in Jaffna

An standoff that erupted between the residents of Paa'naaveddi village and the occupying Sri Lanka Army soldiers of 51-3 brigade Saturday night was contained in the last minute from deteriorating into a blood bath by the intervention of community leaders and politicians, after the residents caught two armed SLA soldiers. While the residents of the village situated in Tholpuram in Valikaamam West were chasing two alleged ‘grease devils’, two armed SLA soldiers emerged from the place where the ‘grease devils’ vanished. The two SLA soldiers were captured by the villagers and kept inside a house bound to ropes. [...]

The Island [Sri Lanka]
25 February 2012

Grease yakas a big hoax conclude forensic experts
Injuries self-inflicted or caused by `friendly hands’

The "Grease Yaka" phenomenon which created quite a furore last year was a vast hoax according to a scientific paper presented yesterday at the Academic Sessions of the College of Forensic Pathologists of Sri Lanka held at the Auditorium of the Sri Lanka Medical Association.

Doctors Tikiri Gunathilake and Vidanapathirana said in a paper that the "victims" examined bore injuries "not compatible with their stories" with such injuries being either self-inflicted or caused by a "friendly hand."

The two doctors had examined six so called victims of the grease devils. [...]