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Top 10 Urban Legends of 2010

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Here, in ascending order of popularity as gauged by reader interest and site traffic, are the Top 10 Urban Legends, Rumors, and Internet Hoaxes of 2010:

10. Spokeo.com Invades Your Privacy
Direct from Facebook: "FYI EVERYONE: There's a site called Spokeo.com and it's an online phone book that has a picture of your house, credit score, profession, age, how many people live in the house. Remove yourself AND ANY AKA OR SPOUSE by the Privacy button on the bottom right. (Passing along, scary stuff!)" Read more...

9. Eminem Died in a Car Crash
A reader writes: "We read on the Internet on Sunday, December 17 that Slim Shady, a.k.a. Eminem, died in a car crash at 2:30 in the morning. According to this article he was on his way to a late-night party and was drunk and high on drugs. True or false?" Read more...

8. Mr. Rogers Was a Marine Sniper / Navy Seal
Believe it or not, some folks are absolutely convinced that the gentle, soft-spoken children's TV show 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. Read more...

7. 'Hallmark Postcard' Virus Warning
As trumpeted via email: "You should be alert during the next few days. Do not open any message with an attachment entitled 'POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK,' regardless of who sent it to you. It is a virus which opens A POSTCARD IMAGE, which 'burns' the whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone who has your email address in his/her contact list. This is the reason why you need to send this email to all your contacts." Read more...

6. Jamie Lee Curtis Is a Hermaphrodite
"Dear Guide," begins one of several inquiries I've received on this perennially popular subject over the years, "I've heard from a few places that Jamie Lee Curtis is genetically male. I know it is genetically possible for something like this to happen — Ms. Curtis is the only famous person I've ever heard linked to this 'problem.' One of my best friends is convinced it's impossible." Not impossible, necessarily, but highly unlikely. Read more...

5. Two Moons in August
Circulating for the seventh year running, this email hoax describes a "once in a lifetime" celestial phenomenon — the closest encounter between Mars and Earth for the past 5,000 years — which already occurred, sort of, in 2003. Read more...

4. Cell Phone Numbers Are About to Go Public!
Still going strong after six years, this urgent forwarded message claims a public directory of cell phone numbers will soon be published and advises users to add their numbers to the Do Not Call Registry to prevent an influx of telemarketing calls. Read more...

3. Amazing Tsunami Picture
One of the most widely shared photographs of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004 turned out to be the phoniest as well. Which is too bad, because despite the collage-like quality of the image and its implausibility, it's also breathtaking in a larger-than-life, "The Day After Tomorrow" kind of way. Still getting lots of hits six years after the fact! Read more...

2. World's Biggest Dog
Via forwarded email: "Hercules was recently awarded the honorable distinction of Worlds Biggest Dog by Guinness World Records. Hercules is an English Mastiff and has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds. With 'paws the size of softballs' (reports the Boston Herald), the three-year-old monster is far larger and heavier than his breed's standard 200-pound limit." But wait till you see the picture! Read more...

1. Lady Gaga Is a Hermaphrodite
Early in 2006, rising pop star Lady Gaga joined the ranks of alleged celebrity "hermaphrodites," the scuttlebutt being that she was born a man and had a sex-change operation. The rumor machine shifted into high gear last year, when folks started saying they saw a flash of Lady Gaga's "man parts" in a concert video posted on YouTube. Still at Number One in 2010! Read more...

Dishonorable Mentions:
Giant Skeletons Found in Greece
Barack Obama Is a Muslim
Snopes Exposed

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