5. Mr. Rogers, Trained Assassin?
Believe it or not, some folks are convinced that the gentle, soft-spoken children's TV host Mr. Rogers hid a secret past as a trained sniper for the Marines (or Navy Seals) nevermind that he spent his whole life in broadcasting, studying to become an ordained minister on the side. Nothing in Fred McFeely Rogers' biography suggests he ever entered military service, let alone underwent training as an assassin. Hard as it may be for cynics to accept, Mr. Rogers was exactly who he seemed.
4. Ashley Flores Is Missing
It all started as a little prank on MySpace.com, say Ashley Flores' friends. But once they'd launched a bogus rumor to the effect that the Philadelphia teen had been kidnapped and was still missing, they were at a loss as to how to stop it. Half-a-year later, it remained one of the most-circulated hoaxes on the Internet in 2006.
3. Bill Gates Is Sharing His Fortune...with YOU!
This logic-defying email hoax is now eight years old and still going strong. As originally composed, the purported message from Microsoft founder Bill Gates promised $1,000 to each and every person who helped him beta test his new "email tracking software" by forwarding the missive to everyone they know. Subsequent versions included phony news reports about mergers taking place between AOL, Microsoft, and chip manufacturer Intel. Do I need to add that not a word of any of this is true?
2. Breast Infestation
The image is bizarre, allegedly depicting the symptoms of what began as a "breast rash," then developed into a full-blown infestation of larvae with tiny worm-like creatures peeking out of gaping crevices in the patient's skin. "Ladies, please wash all bras and underwear before wearing them," warns the cautionary e-tale accompanying the photo. It's largely hogwash, of course, but the surprising grain of truth is that there is, in fact, a medical condition known as furuncular myiasis of the breast basically, an infestation of fly larvae in the living tissue!
1. Quick! Add Your Cell Phone to the 'Do Not Call' Registry!
As I noted two years ago when our current top-circulating Net rumor first took off, the only thing Americans hate more than unsolicited phone calls from telemarketers is the prospect of receiving them on their cell phones. Sparked by announced plans to compile a universal 411 directory of private numbers an idea that still has yet to get off the ground, and may never do so this email alert urging recipients to add their mobile phone information to the National Do Not Call Registry before it's too late hasn't lost an ounce of steam since it went into circulation in 2004.