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. [...]